A plane carrying more than 60 people had to turn back after take-off because part of its wing fell off mid-flight.
The pilot had to abort the CityJet flight from London City Airport to Florence, and circle the Thames Estuary before landing again at the airport with a damaged wing.
After take-off at about 7.25am today, passengers heard a loud bang and a section of the left wing, about six foot long, detached from the plane.
Cole Moreton, a features writer at The Telegraph, was on board the flight and described the confusion as passengers told cabin crew, who appeared to alert the pilot.
Picture of the wing taken by Cole Moreton who was on board
“The bang made people jump and was alarming then we sat there thinking this isn’t right, surely?” he said.
“Does the pilot know? But we didn’t appear to be crashing. So there was a tense few minutes while we circled and waited for an announcement.
“Relief to get back on the ground, seriousness sunk in when we saw emergency services scrambled and lights flashing.”
Emergency services were called to the Avro RJ85 plane once it landed on the runway. Passengers said the wing and part of the aircraft looked badly burned.
The aircraft has been designed for shorter runways and there are currently 23 in operation, according to Cityjet.
An Avro RJ85 operated by CityJet similar to the plane involved in the incident (ALAMY)
A replacement plane was found and the flight took off about an hour later from London City Airport for Florence.
A spokeswoman for CityJet said: “The WX 281 flight had just taken off from London City Airport on its way to Florence when the cover of the operating mechanism on the wing became partially detached.
“Air Traffic Control were notified and the aircraft returned making a normal approach and landing. ”
An internal investigation into what caused the problem is due to take place and CityJet said it was hopeful the plane could fly again today if two broken rods could be replaced.
Some of the many comments below the article:
Flying along on a wing and a prayer, then just a bloody prayer.
he passenger who took the video was probably thinking about the air accident investigation enquiry that would have followed had their plane landed vertically.
Looks like one of the wing’s flap-track boat fairings has broken and dropped down, uncovering the track structure above it, but not separated. Think they are fibreglass or plastic from memory, and not structural just aerodynamic. But the flap has moved and retracted fully up after take-off anyway, just a problem whether to extend down again for the return landing.
Some earlier incidents of aircraft using London City Airport:
Swiss plane engine ‘blew up’ on runway just before take-off at London City airport
March 29, 2014
It has been reported that an engine blew up on a Swiss International Airlines plane waiting to take off from London City airport, while it was powering up its engines seconds before it was due to leave start its take off. The airport said that 4 people needed treatment for minor injuries after Geneva-bound LX437 (an Avro RJ100) with 74 passengers and 4 crew on board suffered an engine problem. The pilot aborted the take off. A passenger reported that “There was a large bang and flames which grew and grew and large chunks of what looked like chunks of red-hot metal started flying up. People started freaking out…..In about 20 seconds we would have been in the air.” The runway at the east London airport was closed for more than an hour after the incident at 3pm on Thursday. Three people were treated at the scene for minor injuries by the London ambulance service. It is not the first incident to feature an RJ100 at the airport. In February 2009, a BA flight from Amsterdam crash-landed when one of its wheels failed. Click here to view full story…
London City Airport crash jet ‘not properly serviced’
down at London City Airport had not been properly completed. Smoke filled the
British Airways Avro 146 jet, carrying 67 passengers, as it landed on 13 February
2009. A fatigue crack led to the landing gear fracturing. Improvement work on
the plane had not been fully finished even though records at the American maintenance
firm responsible showed it had been. (BBC) Click here to view full story…
London City Airport crash: BA Avro RJ jets have experienced problems before
14th February 2009
This incident is the 2nd time in a week that a BA CityFlyer jet has closed the
runway at London City Airport. As well as the hard landing at City airport on
13th, on February 5 an Avro RJ suffered minor damage to its nose wheel. The Avro
RJ-100 is a medium-sized commercial aircraft with room for 4 crew, and between
85 and 100 passengers. In the past there have been two major incidents involving
the Avro RJ-100 with a combined total of 99 casualties. (Telegraph) Click here to view full story…
British Airways jet in ‘hard landing’ at London City airport
13th February 2009
A BA jet from Amsterdam has been involved in an incident at London City Airport.
Eyewitnesses say the front wheels by the aircraft’s nose collapsed when the plane
made a hard landing. The aircraft skidded to a halt on the runway and its 67 passengers
and 5 crew were evacuated using the plane’s emergency chutes. Six ambulances were
called to the scene but there have been no reports of any major injuries. (BBC)
Click here to view full story…