A British Airways 747 with 382 passengers on board has collided with a vehicle.
The refuelling vehicle was being driven by an airside drive who had noise cancelling headphones in, whilst he attempted to fix his computer tablet which had frozen reports revealed.
The report into the crash which was released last Thursday by the AIIB ( Air Accident Investigations Branch) suggests a CCTV photo shows the 747 jet taxiing to it’s parking space with the refuelling vehicle to it’s left hand side.
The plane hit the refuelling vehicle unseen in the dark but fortunately the driver wasn’t hurt.
The AAIB report said: ‘The stand was occupied by an Airbus 320, operated by the same company, which was running behind schedule.
‘The Airbus commenced push back at 15.39 hours, pushing back far enough to allow the 747 onto the stand. It was dark and raining heavily.’
But the refuelling truck had remained on the tarmac after refuelling the previous aircraft. Neither the flight crew nor the ground staff responsible for the arrival saw the truck before the collision probably due to the dark.
The pilot, who’s name hasn’t been released, said his initial focus was to the right of the aircraft to ensure its wingtip was clear of the Airbus.
The AAIB report said: ‘He did not see any vehicles on the stand although he recalled it was difficult to see the white stand markings due to the standing water, heavy rain and the glare of the terminal lights.
‘The aircraft continued onto stand, parked in the normal position and shutdown.’
After the passengers got off, the crew was told that one of the plane’s engines had struck a fuel vehicle but that no one was hurt.
The driver said he had refulled the Airbus and stayed on stand to complete his electronic paperwork, but his tablet computer had frozen and he was trying to fix it when the collision happened.
He said he was unaware of the plane approaching as he had in special hearing protectors used to reduce the noise of jet engines and that he was occupied with his work tablet regarding refuelling.
The AAIB report concluded that neither the flight crew – of which there were 17 – or the ground staff saw the fuel tanker on the stand. Safety action has been taken.
It said: ‘The adverse weather conditions are likely to have been a significant factor.’
British Airways said that the ‘safety of our crew and customers is our top priority’ and ‘the minor damage to the aircraft was repaired and it was returned to service.’
Both the aircraft and refuelling vehicle were repaired.