It was August 11th 2005, when Air France flight no. 358 departed Paris and was en route to Toronto Pearson International Airport with two hundred and ninety seven passengers including two babies and twelve crew members. Before take-off they were warned of severe weather at Toronto with a possibility of thunderstorms.
The auto pilot was disengaged and the pilot was trying to land the plane with the help of instrumental landing approach system. As the aircraft landed on the runway the groundspeed began to increase and the aircraft failed to stop and finally rested into a nearby ravine, suddenly the fire broke out and the flames surrounded the plane. Everyone on the plane successfully evacuated the aircraft before the fire reached the escape routes. In this incident only twelve people were injured and the role played by the skilled and highly trained crew members of Air France Flight 358 was highlighted in the media.
Before the plane stopped, nobody knew about the fire, even the chief purser was not aware of the fire, nor did he know that the passengers were already making their way to the emergency escape routes. He directly announced, please remain seated, everything is fine. Another purser came to the chief purser and informed him that there was fire reported near the L3 door and there is a desperate need of evacuation. Finally the chief purser saw the fire through the left side window of the plane and also saw the passengers in the exit passages. After that, captain was informed about the fire and need of evacuation. The captain quickly tried to activate the emergency evacuation alert system but the system failed to respond. He tried it couple of times by pushing the EVAC- ON buttons but nothing happened. Air France Flight 358 was one of the few planes to have this state of the art system. The evacuation was commanded by the crew members at four of the plane’s eight exit doors. Fire was first reported on the L2 door which was near the left wing of the plane. 43 % of passengers who filled the safety questionnaire saw fire on the outside of the plane while it was still in motion and eleven percent saw smoke in the cabin before the plane stopped. The smoke entered the plane from the left side L2 door which was automatically opened during the incident. When the black smoke entered the cabin, the visibility became very low making the evacuation process very difficult. Fortunately during evacuation there was no fire in the cabin. All the passengers evacuated the aero plane during heavy rain. Thunderstorms were continuously reported at the Toronto Pearson International Airport. Passengers were running on both side of the aircraft but most of the passengers were trying to run on the right side because the fire was at the left side of the plane. Firefighters finally arrived at the scene and the access to the aircraft was gained through the front cabin door. The firefighters searched for the survivor on the flight deck and the first 6 rows of seats was also checked for survivors but no one was found on board.
In this incident everyone survived the deadly crash. Every passenger responded positively to the cabin crew. It was because of the skilled and highly trained crew and the latest equipment installed on the aircraft that everyone survived the crash.
Aviation Investigation Report Runway Overrun and Fire Air France Airbus A340-313F-GLZQ Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Ontario 02 August 2005.