Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Transport Canada - Aviation Safety Letter Underwater Egress Issue 2/2010

Underwater Egress Issue 2/2010

Although the odds of experiencing a ditching event are extremely low, pre-flight preparation and knowledge are paramount to survival should it happen.

The following items will enhance your chance of a successful egress.

  1. Pre-flight Preparation
    Ensure the pilot-in-command demonstrates the location and use of the emergency exits, life preservers, emergency equipment, life raft, and the proper brace position—before the flight. For extended over-water flights, consider wearing your life preserver. Make sure all baggage and cargo is secured so it does not block access to the emergency exits.

  2. In-flight Preparation
    If you are aware that you are about to ditch, do the following:

    • Put on your life preserver, but DO NOT INFLATE IT.

    • Locate all emergency exits, note where they are in relation to your right or left hand, and visualize how to open them.

    • Assume the proper brace position for your seat, as briefed by the crew.

    • Follow the instructions given by the pilot-in-command.

  3. Underwater Egress Procedure
    • Try to remain calm!

    • Take a deep breath prior to being submersed under water.

    • OPEN YOUR EYES.

    • Orient yourself in relation to your selected emergency exit.

    • Get a firm grip on a fixed reference point.

    • If you are seated right next to your emergency exit:

      • – Wait until the water has filled three quarters of the cabin before you fully open the exit, then open it.

      • – Release your safety harness.

      • – Pull yourself free from the cabin.

      • – Inflate your life preserver after exiting the aircraft.

    • If you are NOT seated right next to the emergency exit:

      • – Release your safety harness and proceed toward your emergency exit.

      • – Wait until the water has filled three quarters of the cabin before you fully open the exit, then open it.

      • – Pull yourself free from the cabin.

      • – Inflate your life preserver after exiting the aircraft.

Some of the difficulties during underwater egress include lack of oxygen; disorientation; in-rushing water; obscured vision; and floating debris. Don’t panic. You know you can hold your breath, so relax for a moment; open your eyes; find the exit; and egress. These are basic guidelines only, and your best defence is underwater egress training.


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