An emergency evacuation slide fell from a United Airlines Boeing 767 on Monday as the plane landed at Chicago O'Hare Airport. The slide hit a house and landed in a yard. No one was injured. Photo courtesy of United Airlines
July 18 (UPI) -- A United Airlines' emergency evacuation slide fell from the sky near Chicago O'Hare International Airport on Monday, hitting a house and landing in a backyard without injuring anyone.
The slide fell from the Boeing 767 at around 12:15 p.m. CT, as it was coming in for a landing following a flight from Switzerland.
Homeowner Patrick Devitt said his son and father-in-law were in the kitchen having lunch when they heard a loud "boom" as the slide hit the house, which sits several miles from O'Hare's runways.
The large piece of equipment, which helps passengers evacuate quickly in the event of an emergency, damaged the home's roof and downspout.
"When it's all stretched out, like it's a little jumbled up, I'm sure in the picture from when we dragged it out, it's larger than a small car. It's a very, very big piece of equipment that fell," Devitt told CNN affiliate WLS.
Devitt said his son called 911 after finding the emergency slide in their yard and the Federal Aviation Administration arrived within 30 minutes to investigate. Representatives from United retrieved the slide a bit later, after a maintenance crew at O'Hare discovered it was missing from the aircraft.
"This is really going to trigger some pretty major investigations. This was not a bird strike or something that's routine. It's a rare instant that could have caused fatalities on the ground or even affected the stability of that airplane when it was landing," said DePaul University Professor Joe Schwieterman.
Investigators are still trying to figure out how the slide separated from the Boeing 767, despite it happening twice before. A slide fell from a 767 in 2016 near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and again in 2019 near Boston Logan International Airport.
Last month, an emergency slide opened up inside of a Boeing 767-300, injuring a crew member, after the Delta Air Lines flight landed at Salt Lake International Airport in Utah.
While Boeing and United have not commented on Monday's emergency slide incident, Devitt is amazed and relieved no one was hurt.
"I'm stunned a little bit. I'm just glad that everybody is safe and okay. Just, just seeing that in my backyard, like wow. This really happened," Devitt said. "It fell off of an airplane and landed in our backyard."