Skip to comments.Passengers tell of panic as two planes collide on Heathrow runway
Posted on 10/16/2007 9:43:26 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
It is, say critics, a graphic example of how Britain's busiest airport is bursting at the seams.
This incredible picture shows how a British Airways jumbo jet lost part of its wing colliding with another plane as both waited to take off at Heathrow.
Panic broke out on board both planes after a Sri Lankan A340 Airbus sliced through the BA plane's wingtip 'like butter'.
More than 600 passengers and crew were left stranded after the incident at 10.20pm on Monday night as both flights had to be abandoned.
A Danish journalist, Annasofie Flamand, was on board Sri Lankan flight UL502 bound for Male, Sri Lanka when her taxi-ing plane hit the BA aircraft from the rear.
"We turned our wing, almost hit what looked like the tail end of the British Airways flight, and we ended up chopping off a bit of wing.
"It cut through it like butter."
Miss Flamand, who captured the dramatic scene on her camera said: "It's pretty incredible to see something like that in a place like Heathrow airport. Thank God it was on the ground and not on the air."
Other passengers described the frightening moment of the crash.
Student Anya Hotinski, 24, on the BA flight 011 said: "I was sitting on the left-hand side. I just felt a shudder and looked to my left and could see there was another plane very close and it had taken a chunk out of the wing."
And Chris Hammond, 58, said : "There was a big jerk and no one knew what it was. We're just glad no one was hurt."
BA dismissed the crash as a 'minor collision'. A spokesman said: 'Engineers are inspecting the aircraft to ascertain the damage. The passengers have been offloaded and returned to the terminal building.
"We do not have any more precise details of the collision while it is being investigated."
The passengers were forced to spend the night at hotels without their luggage - which had to remain on board.
Heathrow is the world's busiest international airport, handling more than 67 million passengers a year.
The incident is the second collision at Heathrow in a matter of months after two British Airways planes 'clipped' each other on the tarmac in July.
Airline industry message boards were buzzing with discussion about the incident last night.
One industry insider posting on the pilot's message board PPRUNE wrote: "I hang my head in sadness. To think that the Company that I was once proud to work for should continue to allow this sort of avoidable accident to still happen.
"There has been a drip-feed of these incidents over the years at LHR - why aren't the lessons being learned? Why LHR and not other aerodromes which handle more traffic per runway?
He added: "The fundamental problem is that the basic layout was designed in 1946 for aircraft with half the current span and a quarter of the weight of present designs.
"The site simply isn't big enough and don't get me started on the infrastructure."
A BA spokesman said that air traffic controllers had launched an inquiry. Neither plane would fly again until repairs had been completed.
Heathrow is a Nightmare.. I have flown cargo in there for some years and mostly at night.....
Two aircraft collide at Heathrow
Did they sacrifice the goats before attempted takeoff?
You couldn't make up a name for a college student like "Anya Hotinski"...
From what I could see in the pictures the damage doesn’t look too serious- part of the winglet was taken out but there is no wiring or fuel in that location.
Just what I was thinking, great minds think alike, lol.
Not a major piece but not a small piece of the plane....
This is all very interesting, but where is the picture of this “Anya Hotinski?”
Ping to this post...
Why on earth did the luggage have to remain on board? It wasn't like the plane was going to take off and fly to it's destination.
Had to be scarry.
“The fundamental problem is that the basic layout was designe”
Since everyone appears to do this everyday, thousands of times a day, every day of the year, the fundamental problem sees to be pilot error.
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