Airbus A380
H. Gousse  /  AP file
The jumbo jet A380 is seen in the airport of Medellin, Colombia earlier this year in this file photo. One man broke his leg and 32 other people suffered minor injuries during the exercise in which 853 passengers and 20 crew exited the plane on slides in a darkened hangar Sunday in Hamburg, Germany.
updated 3/26/2006 4:47:36 PM ET 2006-03-26T21:47:36

Thirty-three people suffered minor injuries Sunday during a crucial evacuation drill for the new Airbus A380 superjumbo jet.

One man broke his leg and 32 other people suffered minor injuries during the exercise in which 853 people and 20 crew members from airline Lufthansa AG exited the plane on slides in a darkened hangar.

Aviation authorities mandate specific evacuation times for jet models, and the drill was a critical test for the jet, which will be the world’s largest passenger model when it begins commercial service.

The double-deck A380 can hold as many 873 people, including crew.

Despite the injuries, Airbus said the plane passed its test, with everybody out of the airplane in about 80 seconds. The European Aviation Safety Agency will confirm the test results this week. If the agency decides the test was a failure, the simulation would be repeated next Saturday.

Airbus had said that bringing 650 people out of the plane within 90 seconds would have been sufficient to meet safety requirements.

“That was a very great success,” Airbus manager Gustav Humbert said after the test at its factory in the north German city of Hamburg.

Some of the injured suffered friction burns from sliding down the escape ramps, Airbus spokesman Tore Prang said.

Construction problems have delayed the introduction of the A380, the largest passenger plane in the world. So far, 16 customers have ordered 159 of the planes and the first examples were to go to Singapore Airlines at the end of the year.

Of the plane’s 16 exits, just eight were used in the drill, which was mandatory for the A380 to receive its safety certification, Prang said.

Though the simulation was conducted inside a hangar, he said Airbus sought to make it as realistic as possible, strewing debris in the aisles.

Singapore Airlines is scheduled to take the first A380 delivery by year’s end.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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