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United flight delayed after pilot accidentally deploys emergency chute

Bob Sullivan / NBC News

The emergency slide on United Flight 856 deployed Wednesday, after the pilot tried to yank the main passenger door shut before leaving the gate at Seattle's airport.

Bob Sullivan / NBC News

A view of the deployed emergency slide from inside the Boeing 757 plane.

A United Airlines flight from Seattle to Newark was delayed Wednesday morning after the pilot forcibly tried to close the main passenger door and accidentally deployed the plane's emergency slide.

United Flight 856 was on the ground at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, scheduled for a 10:54 a.m. PT departure, when a flight attendant couldn't pull the main passenger door closed on the full Boeing 757, according to NBC News' Bob Sullivan, who was on the flight.

The pilot came to assist, Sullivan said, violently yanking at the door three or four times. But instead of closing, the door dislodged and forced the emergency chute to deploy.

No injuries were reported, but all passengers had to deplane.

"We are replacing the slide pack and should depart soon," United spokesperson Joe Micucci told NBC News.

The flight was scheduled to depart at 1 p.m. PT, according to United's website.

The pilot offered an apology to passengers over the intercom, Sullivan said.

"I forgive United for this major delay — mistakes happen," Sullivan said. "Now, I wonder if United will forgive me the next time I have to change a flight."


Bob Sullivan / NBC News

NBC News columnist Bob Sullivan was aboard United Flight 856 on Wednesday and captured the view from his vantage point aboard the aircraft in this photo.

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