Saturday, January 19

Flight BA038

Today's big news story is the crash-landing of a British Airways Boeing 777 at Heathrow airport yesterday. One 150 people narrowly averted tragedy when their aircraft lost all power during final approach to the airport, 180 metres above London. The aircraft glided heavily to the ground, 400 metres short of the runway. It then slid for several hundred metres across sodden grass, minus its undercarriage, before coming to a shuddering halt on the end of the main Southern runway.

In what could only be considered a miracle, the stricken aircraft missed the rooftops of local houses and the airport's perimeter fence by metres. Despite crash-landing there were no fatalities. However, as is often the case, a handful of passengers sustained minor injuries while using the aircraft's emergency evacuation slides. A lucky escape for all involved.

Heathrow's southern runway was closed for several hours, resulting in the cancellation of more than 220 flights. The delays have continued today. As I type this post, I am sitting at Arlanda airport in Stockholm waiting to board a British Airways flight home. The flight is already 1.5 hours late and at least one BA flight from Heathrow to Stockholm has been cancelled. I don't anticipate arriving home until 1.30am.

The last 24 hour's events invariably lend themselves to moments of reflection. I travel so frequently for business that its easy to forget that flying has its risks. Incredibly, there's no been one fatality on a major airline for more than seven years. According to the Guardian, the worst air safety record last year occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It had six fatal crashes.

My flight landed shortly after 12.30am, more than two hours behind schedule. As we came into land we could see the striken aircraft in the distance lit by floodlights, with several large cranes in place. Heathrow itself was still busy, with long queues at the taxi rank and airline counters and luggage from cancelled flights piled in the baggage hall.


Rhonda said...

Scarey !!!mnzklw

ba038 said...

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