Pilot blown away by passing plane
Sydney - A Virgin Australia pilot was recovering on Thursday after being blasted from the stairs leading up to his plane by the engine thrust of a passing Qantas 747 jumbo.
The pilot was going through pre-flight checks on a 737 passenger jet at Brisbane on Friday when the aluminium stairs he was standing on were blown over by the force of the Qantas plane's engine, the Sydney Morning Herald said.
Virgin confirmed the incident but said it could not go into details as aviation regulators were investigating.
"A second officer was taken to hospital and treated for his injuries but he is now at home," a spokesperson said.
"The incident was last Friday at Brisbane and Casa [Civil Aviation Safety Authority] is investigating so I can't say any more."
The newspaper said the pilot sustained a fractured arm and leg and Casa was probing how the Qantas plane came to be so close to the Boeing 737, which is operated by Virgin subsidiary Pacific Blue.
The 747 jumbo, which had stopped in Brisbane en route to Sydney, had been taxiing to a runway and was awaiting clearance from air traffic controllers to take off when the incident occurred.
Embattled Qantas, which is locked in a dispute with unions that has forced it to ground seven jets and axe almost 500 flights, denied any excessive thrust was used by its aircraft.
"The Qantas aircraft involved was operating normally under instructions from air traffic control. At no stage was excessive thrust used," the company said in a statement.