A British Airways plane’s nose collapsed on the tarmac at Heathrow Airport today seriously injuring a crew member – after an engineer ‘failed to lock out the landing gear properly’.
Shocking photos show the Dreamliner 787-8 with its nose on the ground and broken landing gear while a stair car stands by.
Airport emergency crews rushed to the scene but the extent of the damage to the plane remains unknown. Medics assessed two staff with one in need of hospital treatment.
The incident happened while the Boeing-made plane – a passenger aircraft converted for cargo transport – was being loaded for a morning flight to Frankfurt, Germany, having flown in from Moscow two days ago.
A source told MailOnline that the accident occurred because of an engineer ‘not locking out the nose gear properly’; meaning the vital piece of landing equipment could have folded itself up inside the plane.
The source added flight crew were onboard when it collapsed and that there were concerns among ground staff of a possible safety issue – which could lead to other 787s being grounded while inspections are carried out.
British Airways however said flights were continuing as normal and that the aircraft was only transporting freight and so had no passengers on board.
It comes amid turbulence for BA after it announced a cut of up to 12,000 jobs during the pandemic and for Boeing who suffered huge problems grounding their 737 MAX airliner fleet after two crashes killed 346 people.
A British Airways Dreamliner 787 has suffered a nose gear collapse on the tarmac at Heathrow Airport this morning. Photos show the aircraft at an angle surrounded by fire crews and police
Airport emergency crews rushed to the scene with the extent of the damage to the plane not yet known. It appears only the front landing gear, underneath the pilot’s cabin, has collapsed, leaving the plane at a downwards angle
British Airways said that flights were continuing as normal and that the aircraft was only transporting freight and so had no passengers on board
A spokesman for the company said: ‘A freighter aircraft has been damaged while stationary on stand. As a freighter only aircraft there were no passengers on board.
‘Safety is always our highest priority and we are investigating the matter.’
A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: ‘We were called at 8:05am today to reports of an incident at Heathrow Airport.
‘We sent a number of resources to the scene including our hazardous area response team (HART), ambulance crews, a medic on a bicycle and an incident response officer. Our medics assessed two people at the scene. After an assessment we took one person to hospital.’
It appears only the front landing gear, underneath the pilot’s cabin, has collapsed, leaving the plane at a downwards angle.
AerohubNews tweeted: ‘An unidentified (at present) British Airways Boeing 787 has suffered a nose gear collapse at London Heathrow Airport this morning.
‘Extent of the damage is currently unknown, further details will be reported once available.’
Callum Jones, a ramp agent at Manchester airport, said there are many reasons why a nose of a plane could collapse and that this will have to be determined by engineers.
He told Metro.co.uk: ‘I didn’t witness the collapse but I work on the ramp at Manchester. There are no injuries apparently. They are just lucky nobody was under the nose when it collapsed and no pushback tug was attached either else it could have been a lot worse.
Callum Jones, a ramp agent at Manchester airport, said there are many reasons why a nose of a plane could collapse and that this will have to be determined by engineers
The British flag carrier took delivery of its first ultra-green Boeing 787 Dreamliner back in 2013, operating routes between London Heathrow and Toronto and Newark, New Jersey
The aircraft is believed to have suffered a front landing gear collapse while at its stand. Luckily because the plane was transporting freight there were no passengers on board
‘The main thing is that none of the ground crew were in and around the nose gear when it collapsed.’
BA’s fleet of Boeing Dreamliner 787-8s
Number in fleet: 12 (delivery completed between 2013 and 2017)
Passenger capacity: 214 (3 class)
Length: 186 feet (56.7m)
Wingspan: 197 feet (60m)
Height: 55 ft 6 ins (16.9m)
Engines: 2× Rolls Royce Trent 1000
Maximum speed: 680mph (954km/h, Mach 0.89)
Range: 9,440 miles (15,200km)
British Airways has a total of 30 Dreamliner 787s in it’s fleet, 12 being 787-8 and the rest being the slightly larger and newer 787-9 type.
The British flag carrier took delivery of its first ultra-green Boeing 787 Dreamliner back in 2013, operating routes between London Heathrow and Toronto and Newark, New Jersey.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA’s parent company IAG, said at the time: ‘The 787 is a tremendous, innovative aircraft which sets new standards for environmental performance and operating efficiency and I’m sure British Airways’ customers will love it.’
The twin engine jets, built by American manufacturer Boeing, had not suffered a fatality or hull loss as of April 2020.
It was Boeing’s first carbon-fibre aircraft and was hotly anticipated in the aircraft industry, but its development has been plagued with troubles.
In 2013 battery smoke emanating from two Dreamliner planes operated by Japanese carriers led to a four-month grounding of the world’s 787 fleet by regulatory authorities and a halt to all deliveries.
It was the first time since 1979 that every plane of a particular type was ordered to stay out of the air for safety reasons.
The incident comes after a turbulent year for the airline, which last April announced that it would have to cut up to 12,000 jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic restricting travel.
However, the airline had been bringing back members of staff from furlough as they prepared for the easing of travel restrictions later this year.
It is also the latest in a string of incidents to affect Boeing’s planes.
In March 2019, their flagship 737 MAX airliner was grounded worldwide after two crashes killed 346 people. The crashes were eventually traced to a fault in the plane’s electronic systems.
The grounding, which only ended in January of this year in Europe, is believed to have cost the company more than $20 billion in fines, compensation and legal feeds.
The embattled company also had 1,200 orders for the plan cancelled, costing them a further $60 billion. The company has yet to comment on this latest incident.