The article by Tom Kelly begins:
A British tourist told yesterday of his flight of terror when he claims an emergency exit on a super jumbo blew open at 27,000ft.
David Reid and his son Lewis feared a bomb had gone off after hearing a ‘massive explosion’ two hours into their flight on the brand new £250million Emirates Airbus A380.
Freezing air blasted in and the cabin pressure plunged after the door in business class came an inch and a half ajar, leaving a gaping hole, said Mr Reid.
The comments under the story are extremely revealing as the vast majority debunk claims made in the article.
For example, in the image shown above, the Mail claims that the:
Door indicator shows green for open instead of red for closed.
But this is wrong for two reasons. A green light on a door indicator would indicate the door is closed - after all, an open door would be the dangerous thing, and danger is usually highlighted with red.
Secondly, it's not a door indicator light anyway. It's an 'Attendant Indication Panel'. As someone called Flyboy88, who says he works on these aircraft, says in the comments:
that light actually means there is a passenger call bell or a phone call to that doors inter phone.
Another comment, from someone claiming to be a pilot, says:
Ok speaking as an A380 pilot, I have to say this article is almost laughable in almost every sense.
1) The picture showing the "door indicator" is actually the passenger call indicator indicating that someone was obviously so bothered by this that they wanted a Gin and Tonic.
2) If a door had "blown" as the article had suggested, do you think with an approximate pressure differential between inside and outside of 8.5 PSI that a blanket would stop everyone from being sucked out?
3) I would love to know how you can hide under an A380 jumpseat, there is barely enough room to keep a lifejacket there.
4) There is no curtain between Economy and Business class, they are separated by....... a floor. This was nothing more than a leaky seal in a door and the blankets were for passenger comfort on a short (2.5 hour flight).
I think Mr Reid needs a groundschool refresher of basic physics and leaves the operating of these multi-million pound aircraft to the professionals.
- Bus Driver, Reading, United Kingdom, 16/2/2013 6:01
The allegations in the article are from someone who:
claims he suffered a chest infection following the ordeal
The Mail seems to have believed his version of events, without questioning them or his possible motives. He also claims:
Freezing air blasted in and the cabin pressure plunged
But, as many of the comments point out, it would be very odd if air 'blasted in' at 27,000ft. And if the cabin pressure 'plunged' the oxygen masks would have deployed, yet this is not mentioned anywhere in the article.
It seems odd, too, that none of the other passengers - who were apparently 'weeping in panic' - seems to have come forward to support the claims made in this Mail article.
There are two quotes at the end of the article which say:
An Emirates spokesman said: ‘We can confirm there was a whistling noise emanating from one of the doors on the A380 upper deck on flight EK384 between Bangkok and Hong Kong on Monday, February 11. At no point was the safety of the flight in jeopardy.’
An Airbus spokesman said: ‘It is not possible for a cabin door to open on an A380 or on any aircraft whilst in flight, as doors open inwards and have locking mechanisms.’
By 2:30pm, there were over 600 comments on the article, and most of them were very critical of the Mail and its fact-checking. But they didn't correct or edit it in response - instead, they gave it even more prominence on their homepage and made it top story:
It seems accuracy has lost out to numbers of visitors as the most important thing about this story as far as MailOnline is concerned.
At 3:07pm, the Mail updated the story, adding a further quote from an Emirates airline spokesman:
'At no time during the flight did one of the upper deck doors open. There was also no loss in cabin pressurisation at any time during the flight.
'The noise from the door was caused by a small dimensional difference between the inflated door seal and the door lower frame striker plate, when the door is in the closed position. This is currently under investigation in conjunction with Airbus. Emirates have now fixed the problem.
'The blankets were placed around the door to abate the whistling sound emanating from the door, not to prevent the door from opening.
'There was no point during the incident where the safety of the flight was in jeopardy.
'In addition, the green light next to the door does not represent that the door is open. It is an Attendant Indication Panel and is used for communication information for the Cabin Crew.'
Despite this latest update, the rest of the article - including the photos claiming the green light shows the door is 'open' - remains uncorrected.
(Hat-tip to Martin)