JOHANNESBURG: A British Airways airplane carrying 202 people struck an office building at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport with its wing while taxiing for take-off late on Sunday, slightly injuring four, aviation authorities said.
The Boeing 747-400 en route for London Heathrow Airport took a runway that was too narrow for the plane, said South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokeswoman Phindiwe Gwebu on Monday.
“This resulted in the aircraft’s right-hand wing impacting the office building,” she told Agence France-Presse.
The control tower “told them to take one taxiway and they took another one. They took a wrong one,” said Gwebu.
Four people inside the building were lightly injured, but the 185 passengers and 17 crew on board were unharmed during the late-night accident, according to the CAA.
“Four ground-handling employees who were in the building at the time experienced minor injuries,” Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) said in a statement.
A photo taken by a passenger from the cabin showed the aircraft’s giant wing wedged into a quarter of the length of the small building.
Harriet Tolputt, head of media for international humanitarian organization Oxfam, posted the pictures to Twitter.
“BA plane crashes into building at J Burg airport. No one injured only the pilot’s pride,” she posted, complaining that first-class passengers were evacuated before the rest.
The stuck plane had still not been able to take off by Monday morning. All the passengers were taken to a nearby hotel, according to ACSA. AFP