Taxiing mistake caused accident at OR Tambo

2013-12-23 14:55

A taxiing mistake caused a plane to hit a building at OR Tambo International Airport, in Kempton Park, said the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).

Air traffic control instructed the crew of a British Airways Boeing 747-400 departing for London to use taxi way B, SACAA spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu said in a statement.

"The crew continued onto taxi way M, which is narrower, resulting in the aircraft impacting on an office building behind the SAA technical hangars," she said.

Four ground-handling staff in the building sustained minor injuries when they were hit by debris after the aircraft's wing struck the building last night.

"The 17 crew and 185 passengers who were in the aircraft escaped unharmed and were evacuated," said Gwebu.

She said there was fuel spillage, but that this was contained by the airport's fire services.

Investigators had witnessed the recovery of the aircraft, and the removal of the flight recorder.

"The investigation continues," said Gwebu.

Earlier, the Airports Company SA (Acsa) said the plane crashed shortly before taking off for Heathrow Airport.

It said the passengers affected were accommodated overnight at an airport hotel.

"The aircraft has since been moved to a remote location and operations have not been disrupted," said Acsa spokesperson Unathi Batyashe-Fillis.

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