Regional Jet Evacuated at Will Rogers Airport After Hydraulic Problem

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Passengers and crew were evacuated from a regional jet on the tarmac at Will Rogers World Airport Friday after a hydraulics line broke, spraying fluid inside the cabin, airport officials said.

Nobody was seriously injured on the flight operated by Mesaba Airlines on behalf of Northwest Airlines, but two passengers were taken to a hospital as a precaution, airport spokeswoman Karen Carney said.

Flight 3437 landed at the airport shortly before noon after a flight from Memphis, Tenn., and the pilot pulled the airplane off the runway to a taxiway and then ordered it evacuated, FAA spokesman John Clabes said. There were 60 people and crew on board the 69-seat aircraft.

Evacuation slides were used by the 56 passengers, two pilots and two flight attendants to leave the four-engine jet, an Avro RJ85.

Fire crews surrounded the airplane and emergency workers began checking the passengers.

Sixteen people from the flight were taken to the airport's fire station to wash off any remnants of the hydraulic fluid. Five people who got the bulk of the hydraulic spray, including three children, went through a decontamination procedure in which firefighters in hazardous material suits cleansed them, Carney said.

Passengers were taken by bus to the terminal after the incident.

On Sept. 1, 2004, another Mesaba jet was evacuated while taxiing toward a runway for takeoff from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport when hydraulic fluid sprayed into the cabin from a pinhole-sized hole in a hydraulic line, Mesaba spokesman Dave Jackson said. This incident also happened aboard an Avro RJ85. One passenger was cut on the arm during that evacuation.

The hydraulic system controls mechanics such as braking and steering. If this model plane experiences hydraulic problems while in flight, such things can be handled manually, Jackson said.

Jackson said a full investigation would be undertaken to determine what caused the leak.