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Plane clips Johannesburg airport building

23 December 2013, 15:18

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 AFP.

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 wing wedged into a quarter of the length of the small building.

Harriet Tolputt, head of media for international humanitarian organisation 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 was "removed to a safe palce at the airport" on Monday, ACSA spokeswoman Unathi Batyashe-Fillis told AFP in a text message.

All the passengers were taken to a nearby hotel.



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