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Embraer Evacuation Slide Inflates In Flight

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Passengers aboard JetBlue Flight 1266, an Embraer ERJ-190 out of Fort Myers, Fla., for Boston's Logan Wednesday afternoon, heard a large bang and looked to see that an emergency slide had deployed in flight, inside the cabin. The inflation pinned a flight attendant to his seat and led the cockpit crew to declare an emergency and divert to Orlando. The slide “filled up the whole front part of the cabin where the flight attendants sit,” one passenger told ABC News affiliate WCVB. It took other cabin crew three or four minutes to deflate the slide, the passenger estimated. But it may not be a crewmember who deflated the slide.

The slide did not enter the area of the cabin where more than 70 passengers were seated and the emergency was declared “out of an abundance of caution,” a JetBlue spokesman said. At least one early report stated that a passenger assisted in deflating the slide. The aircraft landed safely at Orlando International Airport before 4 p.m. After landing, passengers were directed to exit from the back of the plane. Passengers were moved to another aircraft scheduled to depart later Wednesday evening. The forward cabin flight attendant was reportedly treated at a local hospital and released without serious injury. The incident aircraft was taken out of service for inspection.

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