Passenger video from yesterday’s accident to an Emirates Boeing 777 at Dubai shows something anyone with interest and commitment to aviation safety would rather not see: some passengers reaching for their luggage in an aircraft evacuation.
— Rehan Quereshi (@rehanquereshi) August 3, 2016
The Emirates flight from Thiruvananthapuram, India crashed while landing at Dubai at 1245 local time. Some media reports have said the landing gear was not down, and the authoritative website, the Aviation Herald, says the aircraft was attempting to go around from low height and had retracted the gear. A Metar forecast reproduced on the AvHerald shows ambient temperature at 49 degrees. A firefighter died while responding to the emergency.
While news reports say all passengers and crew made it out alive from the burning aircraft, the unnecessary delay and congestion caused by dragging suitcases in an evacuation could be the difference between life and death the next time this mercifully rare event happens.
As Flight Safety Australia reported in February 2016 reaching for luggage appears to be a symptom of panic at least as much as selfishness, and not all aircraft evacuations experience the problem. As the story says, leaving bags behind is a shared responsibility: for passengers to comply and for airlines and regulators to consistently inform why it is important for safety.
And yes, taking a video during an aircraft evacuation is not a recommended practice, but this shaky and jumpy footage shows the camera operator was not wasting time setting up composed shots.