British Airways flight lands short of runway at London Heathrow Airport

Thursday, January 17, 2008

This story has updates
See Co-pilot steered stricken Heathrow jet to safety
The scene of the crash
Image: Marc-Antony Payne.

A British Airways flight from Beijing to London with 152 people on board has landed short of the runway at Heathow airport near London. One hundred and thirty six passengers and sixteen crew have been evacuated from the plane and thirteen people are reported to have sustained minor injuries.

Reports suggest that the cause of the incident was a "total loss of power and avionics" in the plane, meaning that the pilot had to glide the plane towards the runway area.

Flight BA038 from Beijing to Heathrow, a twin-engined Boeing 777-236ER, carried out an emergency landing at Heathrow Airport 12.42 p.m. local time, according to a Heathrow airport statement.

The incident has delayed the flight carrying UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is flying to Beijing today on a visit to China and India.

A map showing the location of the plane (Blue dot) after landing and sliding through the field on the route marked in red.
Image: OpenStreetMap.

Witnesses said the plane flew low on its approach, touched down on grass short of the runway and came to a halt on its belly at the edge of the runway. Passengers were quickly evacuated by emergency chutes as emergency vehicles surrounded the plane. The plane's undercarriage broke off during the landing and both wings as well as the starboard engine are badly damaged.

In a press statement, BA said it is "very proud" of the way its staff - three flight crew and thirteen cabin crew - safely evacuated passengers with only six minor injuries resulting.

The southern runway has been closed for operations and has resulted in all European short haul flights from Terminals 1, 2 and 3 being cancelled. Passengers travelling by Heathrow have been advised to check their flight status before arriving at the airport.

British Airways helpline
UK: 0800 389 4193
Int'l: +0044 191 211 3690