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Thu, Jan 17, 2008

British Airways 777 Lands Short At Heathrow

Passengers Evacuated; Minor Injuries Reported

Thankfully, only minor injuries are reported following a Friday morning accident at London Heathrow Airport, involving a Boeing 777 that landed short of the airport's south runway.

BBC news reports the British Airways airliner touched down several hundred meters short of the runway. At least one of the aircraft's main landing gear legs were shorn off, and the airliner's port wing and engine nacelle were severely damaged.

Citing an unidentified airport worker, BBC reports the pilot told authorities the aircraft's electronics failed. It is unclear what the nature of that failure was, or what role it may have played in the accident.

All 136 passengers and 16 crewmembers onboard Flight 38, inbound from Beijing, were hurriedly evacuated from the stricken airliner. At least 17 people were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries.

One passenger onboard the flight, Paul Venter, told UK Press Association the plane's flight crew struggled to bring the aircraft safely over surrounding homes.

"The wheels came out and went for touchdown, and the next moment we just dropped. I couldn't tell you how far," he said.

Neil Jones witnessed the scene from the ground, and said the 777 made a "very, very unusual approach" to the airport. He added the aircraft's engines were louder than is usually the case while on approach to land.

"You could see the pilot was desperate, trying to get the plane down," Jones told PA. "The aircraft hit the grass and there was a lot of dirt. The pilot was struggling to keep the plane straight. I think he did a great job."

FMI: www.ba.com

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