Evacuation policy questioned

EDMONTON—Angry Air Canada passengers are questioning the airline’s evacuation policy after they got stuck on a plane while fire crews inspected it yesterday following a report of smoke in the cockpit.
John Rabasse, who flew on Flight 179 from Montreal with his 38-year-old son, Jason Rabasse, and 12-year-old granddaughter, Maurissa, said they were kept on the plane along with dozens of other passengers for about 30 minutes after it landed in Edmonton about 11:30 a.m.
“I would prefer they evacuated us first, so if it burns there’s nobody in it,” said Rabasse, 72, adding he’s afraid to fly with the airline back to his hometown of Bathurst, N.B.
“I think it would have been prudent to get us off the plane if there was any threat,” added Jason, a frequent air traveller. “This was the first time it happened to me.
“I never had firefighters in the planes I was in.”
Jim Rudolph, a spokesman for Edmonton International Airport, said the pilot called ground control to report there was smoke and potentially a fire in the cockpit.
“It landed without incident, [was] greeted by our emergency crews, and when it was inspected there was no report of a fire but just a strange smell.”
There were 138 passengers aboard the aircraft, said Angela Mah, spokeswoman for Air Canada.
A warning light in the flight deck had been activated, which prompted the pilot to call control, added Mah.
“Strictly as a matter of precaution, we requested that emergency vehicles meet the flight,” she noted. “The aircraft taxied to the gate under its own power.”
Air Canada maintenance crews are checking the aircraft to find out what triggered the warning light.