Wing of Boeing 747 Aircraft Strikes Building; FlyerTalk Member Gives First-Hand Account

The wing of a Boeing 747-400 aircraft operated by British Airways struck the side of a brick building while taxiing towards the runway to depart for London. Photograph courtesy of Harriet Tolputt. Click on the photograph for the Twitter feed of Harriet Tolputt.

The wing of a Boeing 747-400 aircraft operated by British Airways apparently struck a building while taxiing at Oliver R. Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg, causing damage to both the building and the airplane.

The aircraft was to depart from Johannesburg on its way to London when the wing appeared to “slice” through a section of the top floor of what appears to be a brick building.

As a passenger who was on that airplane during the incident, FlyerTalk member Sign47 posted the following first-hand account of this incident:

“I was on this flight and sat by a window seat on the wing (don’t want to reveal my seat number yet because BA has some explaining to do) but cabin crew were very professional and did their best to keep all aboard calm.

“They kept us on board for over an hour after the collision and the message we were getting most was to turn our electronics off. This is because the captain and crew knew everyone was taking photos and posting to social media from their seats.

“I will say we were travelling quite fast when we collided with the building. In my opinion not the standard taxi speed. We hit the brakes hard, glad I was wearing my seat belt! The first thing we hit was a lamppost and at that point I thought I was dreaming! I know the reports say no fatalities in the building but several people said the lights were on and people were in the building when the plane’s wing struck the building.

“The question all passengers are asking was it pilots fault or air traffic controllers fault or a mixture of both? The damage is extensive.

“We were very worried about the fuel leaking from the wing but the captain told us it was under control with emergency services on the scene at once.

“Chaos after we got off the plane and no one from BA there to help. This was very poor! It took me and many others three hours to be given a hotel room (Southern Sun airport hotel).

“Very tired but I hope I get back to my family for Christmas. We’ll find out in the morning what BA can do by putting us on others flights.”

According to FlyerTalk member dunk, a message about the incident was sent via Twitter by a representative of British Airways:

“One of our aircraft was damaged whilst taxiing at JNB airport. All 182 passengers disembarked safely with no reported injuries onboard”

The cause of this incident is not yet known at this time. A full investigation has reportedly been launched by British Airways personnel; as well as assistance is being provided to the independent South African Civil Aviation Authority pertaining to this incident.

Comments (Showing 3 of 3)

  • Swissaire at 8:40am December 23, 2013

    So the actual title is BRITISH AIR CLIPS BUILDING IN SOUTH AFRICA.

    Why pick on Boeing ? They were piloting the aircraft.

  • EnhancedByCO at 9:12am December 23, 2013

    This is purely conjecture, but I think this is specifically where this happened on the airport property: http://goo.gl/maps/MYzx8

    It looks like the main taxiway makes a slight left turn at this point to reach the runway, but there is another taxiway for small aircraft that keeps going straight. When the BA aircraft missed the turn…

  • Git-er-dun at 5:15pm December 23, 2013

    I agree with the previous comment. As a pilot, I would say he should have turned left towards Runway 03 Left, but he kept going straight onto the small utility taxi way. The taxi ways are clearly marked so he “zigged” when he should have “zagged” Bummer
    I guess British Airways will have to add more of their bogus “surcharge” fees to make up for the loss.

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