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Several injured in Airbus evacuation test

Written by: Staff

PARIS, Mar 26 (Reuters) European aircraft maker Airbus said today 32 people were injured, including one with a broken leg, in a test evacuation of its new A380 double-decker airliner but called the test a success.

''One passenger suffered a broken leg and there were some minor injuries,'' said Airbus chief operarting officer and the head of the A380 programme Charles Champion in a statement.

In Hamburg, Airbus boss Gustav Humbert said 32 people were slightly injured and that there was one broken leg.

There were 873 people involved in the evacuation test.

The Hamburg test was under the supervision of the European certification authority and in the presence of a representative from the US Federal Aviation Authority, which is part of the certification procedure.

Despite the minor injuries, Airbus said it was pleased with the result, which would help clear the way for the new aircraft.

''We are very happy with this result. It clears the way for the transportation of passengers as defined by our initial customers who all have selected very comfortable three class layouts,'' Champion said.

A spokesman for the company said an earlier statement that was faxed to Reuters and other news organisations and which said a slide had dis-inflated had been sent in error.

''All slides worked and the number of injured people is in line with what to expect with a trial of this size,'' spokesman David Voskuhl said.

During the trial, all of the 873 participants were able to leave the aircraft and reach the ground within the 90 seconds prescribed, with half of the 16 doors in operation.

The trial was performed in darkness and filmed by infrared cameras. The doors and slides that were operative were not known before the trial.

Injured passengers were treated by the medical emergency and first aid services on the site.

Airbus is owned by EADS group and BAE Systems .

Reuters OM VP0010

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