Thursday, January 17, 2008

British Airways Boeing 777 down at Heathrow

British Airways Boeing 777 accident at London's Heathrow AirportA British Airways B777-236ER landed several hundred meters short of a runway at London's Heathrow Airport (LHR) earlier today, January 17, 2008. BA Flight 038, arriving at LHR on a scheduled flight from Beijing, had 132 passengers and 16 crew on board, all of whom were evacuated safely using emergency slides. Early news reports said a few people sustained "minor injuries." The aircraft (registration number G-YMMM) was severely damaged. There was no fire.

The aircraft reportedly touched down at 12:42 GMT, several hundred meters short of runway 27L, and plowed through the grass, coming to a rest on its belly just at the threshold of the runway. Several eyewitnesses at the airport said that the aircraft appeared to lose power on short final, and that the landing gear collapsed shortly after the aircraft touched down.

BBC News reported that all BA short-haul flights scheduled to leave from Heathrow were immediately cancelled or delayed. A number of incoming flights were diverted to Stansted and Luton.

A press advisory issued by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that a team had been dispatched to assist the government of the United Kingdom in its investigation of today's accident. The NTSB designated investigator Bill English as the U.S. Accredited Representative. An aviation systems technical specialist and a powerplants technical specialist will accompany him. The Federal Aviation Administration and the Boeing Aircraft Company are also sending investigators as part of the team, according to the NTSB. The UK Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) is leading the investigation.

Kudos to the flight crew for landing the apparently disabled aircraft without loss of life or serious injury to anyone on board or on the ground, and to the cabin crew for quickly evacuating everyone from the aircraft without further incident.

Click here for the BBC's photo collection of the aircraft and the accident site at Heathrow.

Follow-up details regarding the this accident will be posted here on Aircrew Buzz as factual information becomes available.

[Photo Source]

UPDATE January 17, 2008: Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways released a statement publicly commending the crew of BA Flight 38, identifying the PIC by name:
" I would like to pay tribute to the 16 crew of the BA038 led by Captain Peter Burkill. The flight crew showed great courage and professionalism in landing the aircraft safely. All of the crew did a fantastic job evacuating the 136 passengers. They are all heroes and everyone at British Airways is very proud of them." [Source: British Airways Press Statement, January 17, 2008]
In a separate statement, Mr. Walsh also praised the fire, ambulance and police services for their response at the scene of the accident.

UPDATE January 18, 2008: The UK's Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) has issued a preliminary report on the British Airways accident.

UPDATE January 24, 2008: The UK's AAIB has issued an update to its preliminary report on the British Airways accident.

UPDATE February 9, 2010: The AAIB has issued its Final report on 2008 British Airways Boeing 777 accident at Heathrow.

NOTE:  Click here to view all posts on Aircrew Buzz about British Airways Flt 038.