Re: Toilet sucks in child

Date:         03 Feb 97 03:18:33 
From: (Gary Moffitt)
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> > I am highly skeptical of the incident descibed. The child would have to
> > fall completely into the bowl and seal the outlet completely for the
> > described incident to have occurred.  Urban folklore rumors the same to
> > have occurred to extremely obese using vacuum toilets, I have never seen
> > one of these cases substantiated.
> Good point Gary.  One primary difference between an urban legend and fact
> is the use of verifiable names, dates, and other evidence; inlcuding s
> pecifics.  Soooo.. here goes. (Not It think that this is the 'mother
> source' of all the stuck on toilet stories floating around.

> Before cabin pressure had decreased appreciably, news of a dramtic rescue
> was brought to the flight deck by Capt. Rademon, who was, by this time,
> quite excited and fully absormed in his self-appointed role as a purveyor
> of profress reports to the cockpit.  His nes was to the effect that we
> had an undaunted strong man in the crew.  First Officer Lamprect had
> succeeded , by a process of doubling the harassed lady forward and pulling
> also, in dislodging her to the accompaniment of loud sucking noises as
> air rushed by to equalize the pressure.

Lucky she didn't sustain the injuries the child had sustained, and what
would our hero had done if upon removing her from the bowl he found, well
you know all sorts of best left undescibed... I'd have to think the best
couse of action would be to make an emergency descent to an appropriate
altitude and equalize cabin and ambient pressure. Perhaps the airlines
should have a special emergency procedure. Anybody working to remove
someone stuck on a toilet should be prepared to handle the likely ensuing
medical complications.

> The cause of the trouble was that Mrs. Huston had seated herself directly
> on the metal part of the toilet pan without first lowering the seat.

This does explain how a perfect seal could be obtained between the bowl
and body.

> When apologizing to Mrs. Huston afterwards when she had recovered from
> her experience, she remarked that she was 'terrified of being sucked right
> through and out os the aircraft as I had no parachute.'  Also: 'I thought
> that my insides were being drawn out.'

A very valid concern.

> To prevent a recurrance of this nature we have drilled five quarter inch
> holes with half-inch spacing just forward of the hinge line of the seat
> and covered these with a joggling strip revited to the container to prevent
> the holes from beincoming blocked.

This is a damn good idea, economical, easily implemented and effective.

> I have heard this story retold many times, but never with this level of
> detail, therefore I do tend to believe this is a true account of a real
> incident.  In more modern vacuum toilets (the one in the DC-7B is more
> like a porta-potty in the sky), I don't believe that it would be possible
> to become 'stuck on the john' for more then a brief period of time.

Well, Brian, I guess I am convinced.  Several other readers have also
emailed me various vacuum toilet stories. So either they are true or urban
folklore has been taken to a new level. Thanks.

Gary S. Moffitt