An emergency evacuation slide described as “bigger than a small car” was released from a plane mid-air and landed in the backyard of a Chicago home.
No injuries were reported as a result of the incident, but the falling slide damaged the roof of the house.
A United Airlines Boeing 767 landed safely at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Monday after arriving from Switzerland, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
However, during an inspection after landing, maintenance workers discovered that an emergency evacuation slide was missing from the side of the aircraft.
It later emerged that the missing slide had fallen and landed in the backyard of the house near the airport.
The FAA is conducting a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the slide detachment, but the agency declined to provide further details, reports said.
The aircraft was carrying 155 passengers and 10 crew.
United Airlines issued a statement. “We immediately contacted the FAA and are working with our team to better understand the circumstances surrounding this matter.”
The aircraft’s emergency slide collapsed at the 4700 block of North Chester Avenue, located on Chicago’s northwest side, according to police.
Patrick Devitt was identified as the homeowner of the home in question.
Mr Devitt was not home at the time when the slide fell on the roof of his house, but his son and father-in-law were present. Both reported hearing a “boom” at around 12.15pm on Monday.
After discovering the detached slide, Mr. Devitt dragged it from his backyard to the front of his property.
He said the slide hit part of the house, damaging the roof, underside and window screen.
“When it’s all stretched out, because it’s a bit mixed up I’m sure in the picture from when we pulled it out, it’s more than a small car. It’s a very large piece of equipment,” Mr. Devitt told WLS TV.
“I’m a bit overwhelmed. I’m glad everyone is safe and well. Exactly, just seeing that in my backyard, like wow. This really happened. He fell out of a plane and landed in our backyard,” ABC News quoted Mr. Devitt as saying.
In 2014, a United Airlines plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Wichita, after an evacuation slide inflated inside the cabin when the plane was nearly 40,000 feet above Kansas.
No one on the flight, from Chicago to Orange County in California, was injured in the incident.
Although rare, some Boeing 767 aircraft have lost emergency slides in the past.
In 2016, a similar incident occurred near Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, and again in 2019 near Logan Airport in Boston.
“This will really kick off some pretty big investigations. This was not a bird strike or something that is normal. It’s a rare moment that could lead to deaths on the ground or even disrupt the stability of that plane while it’s landing,” DePaul University professor Joe Schwieterman told ABC News.