Czech investigators have described an incident in which passengers suddenly evacuated a Boeing 737-800 after mistakenly believing the jet was on fire.

Investigation authority UZPLN states that it is analysing the cockpit-voice recording from the aircraft following the event at Budapest.

The Smartwings aircraft (OK-TVP) had been preparing for a service to Tel Aviv on 23 March. It had been pushed back and the crew had started its engines.

UZPLN says, in a first-quarter bulletin, that smoke from the exhaust of ground-handling vehicles had been drawn into the air-conditioning system.

The ingress of smoke into the aft cabin caused "panic" among the passengers, it states. "Passengers screamed 'fire' and headed for the rear door," says the inquiry.

"Cabin crew could not handle the unexpected surge of passengers," it adds. Aft doors were opened, it says, and an "unco-ordinated" evacuation resulted.

The captain of the aircraft realised that doors on the left- and right-hand side were open and he also learned about the situation from the cabin manager.

UZPLN says the crew started the auxiliary power unit and shut off the aircraft's engines, requesting stairs and buses for the passengers. One passenger was injured during the incident and required medical treatment.

Source: Cirium Dashboard