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DateLine Wednesday, 17 October 2007

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Government Gazette

Heathrow shaken by plane collision

SriLankan Airbus clips BA Jumbo's wing:

British aviation authorities are investigating a freak accident in which a SriLankan Airlines A340 collided with a British Airways 747 at Heathrow on Monday night. The Sri Lankan Airbus was bound for Maldives while the BA Boeing was heading to Singapore.

"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," said journalist Annasofie Flamand, 32, who was on the Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL502.

"It's pretty incredible to see something like that in a place like Heathrow Airport. " Thank God it was on the ground and not in the air." Witnesses reported seeing part of the engine of a British Airways jumbo jet aircraft, Flight BA011, falling onto the runway when it collided with the tip of the wing of the Sri Lankan Airlines plane.

No one has been injured in the incident which occurred around 10.20 p.m. at the busiest airport in Europe.

Both aircraft suffered damage and repairs are expected to take several weeks. The incident comes as Heathrow airport faces growing criticism for long delays and congestion. Each year more than 64 million passengers pass through Heathrow and there are about 450,000 landings and take-offs.

Passengers were reported to be very shaken and distressed but were being told by their pilots that there was no need to panic.

During one recent incident the airport's northern runway was blocked for more than 90 minutes after a Royal Brunei flight made an emergency landing. A BA spokesman described the incident as a "minor collision", and added that an investigation had been launched. "Our aircraft had a minor collision with another aircraft on the taxiways," the BA spokesman said.

"Engineers are inspecting the aircraft to ascertain the damage. The passengers have been offloaded and returned to the terminal building. SriLankan Airlines said it was arranging to accommodate its 286 passengers and 11 crew in hotels.

"What we know is that the plane clipped the wings of another aircraft while lining up for take off," a SriLankan spokesman said. "We understand it is a minor incident, but are awaiting a full report."



Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas

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