An extremely sad news today as a Sri Lankan woman passenger was killed and 70 injured during an emergency evacuation of a Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747-300 following a bomb scare, at the Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Sri Lanka yesterday.
The Boeing 747 (Flight No SV 781) was taxiing for take-off to Jeddah when Air Traffic Controllers received an anonymous telephone call warning of a bomb threat, military sources said. It turned out to be a hoax. "The call about a bomb in the aircraft came when it was taxiing for take off. The crew promptly stopped the aircraft and passengers were taken out through an emergency evacuation," Air Force media coordinator Group Captain Ajantha Silva told the Daily News.
The ensuing panic among the 430 passengers to scramble onto the sliding liferafts caused a stampede, which claimed the woman's life. Efforts by the 22 crew members to guide the passengers towards the emergency exits in an orderly manner had proved futile.
The woman was badly injured in the rush and died at the Negombo hospital.
Doctors at the hospital said the woman probably had a cervical fracture. A post-mortem will be held today.
Many other passengers also had fractures. Some had bloody noses and cuts on their faces, elbows and legs.
The Air Force bomb disposal unit searched the aircraft while medical personnel gave first aid to the wounded. Twelve of them were taken to the Negombo hospital and 18 were admitted to the National Hospital, Colombo.
The airliner was not scheduled to take off yesterday after the incident. Saudi Airlines officials said another plane was likely to be sent to take the passengers of SV 781. There was no disruption to other flights