CNN is reporting that in the minutes after Asiana flight 214 crashed on landing, the evacuation of passengers and crew from the destroyed 777 was further delayed by the inflation of a life raft/escape slide inside the cabin. A flight attendant sitting near the door was trapped by the inflated slide, which also (presumably) blocked that exit doorway until passengers could deal with it.
And what’s the quickest way to deflate a life raft that’s blocking your escape from a burning airplane? With knives, of course. Knives that none of the passengers were allowed to carry…
Passengers described the cabin interior as heavily damaged, with overhead bins dropping and at least one life raft/escape slide inflating inside the aircraft, trapping a flight attendant, whom passengers helped free.
I’m not sure how the passengers deflated the raft and freed the flight attendant, but we salute their courage and ingenuity. It would have gone a whole lot faster if one of them had been able to whip out a Victorinox Camper (or, heaven forbid, a Kershaw Chive) and go all snicker-snack on the unruly life raft.
And the rest of the rescue would also have gone a lot faster if the cabin crew didn’t have to wait for police to toss utility knives up to them to cut the seatbelts that trapped many passengers in their seats while the aircraft burned around them.
I’m not saying that the ‘No Knives On Planes’ policy actually killed anyone. Not this time. But why wait until it does?