Newly-surfaced video caught the moment a United Airlines plane dropped an emergency slide onto a Chicago neighborhood – where it damaged a family’s home before crashing into the backyard.
The surveillance footage posted by CBS News Chicago and and NBC Chicago shows the inflatable slide plummeting to earth as the Boeing 767 was preparing to land at O’Hare International Airport on Monday afternoon.
The slide damaged the roof, a window screen and a downspout of Laura and Patrick Devitt’s home on North Chester Avenue, just east of the airport, CBS News Chicago reported.
“Landed right here in the garden, smashed all these plants – stuff like that,” Patrick told the outlet. ”A couple of inches, you know, further to the east, and it would have landed right on the house. So we’re very lucky.”
At the time of the incident, Laura was on her computer upstairs while her parents were feeding the couple’s toddler son in the next room, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“I’ve never heard that loud of a sound before,” Laura, 36, added. “My first thought was that it could have been a terrible car accident, but it didn’t sound like that, to be honest.”
When she stepped outside, she saw the deflated and crumpled item which she could not identify.
“It just looked like a huge tarp,” Laura told the Sun-Times.
Patrick, 36, arrived home a few minutes later and called 911.
The neighborhood was soon filled with police and officials from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Chicago Department of Aviation and the National Transportation Safety Board.
United Airlines representatives also arrived, as did a throng of neighbors who were wondering what the commotion was all about.
“We’re all OK. I feel lucky. But I was definitely a little rattled, and the more you think about it, it’s like: You know the airplane industry is just such a regulated industry, so for something to fall off a plane and fall into your yard is a really rattling thing, and the ‘what ifs’ take over,” Laura told the paper.
“When we moved here we got so used to being in the flight path of planes that we don’t’ really think much of it now, apart from the fact that my son loves watching for planes,” she said.
“But, no, you never think that part of the plane is going to be in your yard,” Laura added.
After the plane landed safely, maintenance crews discovered it was missing a slide, according to the FAA, which is investigating the incident.
Cops told Laura they recalled a similar incident from January 2021, when a tire fell off a plane and landed in the yard of a Jefferson Park home, the Sun-Times reported. No one was injured.
United Airlines said the pilots were unaware they lost the slide until they landed, according to the outlet.
“We immediately contacted the FAA and are working with our team to better understand the circumstances around this matter,” the airline said in a statement.