Airport worker injured as boarding bridge falls off plane at Hong Kong airport

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 April, 2013, 11:15am

Passengers on board a Cathay Pacific flight escaped injuries when an airbridge collapsed at Chek Lap Kok yesterday evening, but an airport worker was wounded in the incident.

The rear airbridge, attached to an entrance of the Nagoya-bound CX532 at Terminal 1's boarding gate 71, fell on its side at about 6pm, after passengers had already boarded the plane. As it fell, it upset the front bridge, causing it also to fall, an Airport Authority spokeswoman said.

No passengers or crew members were on either bridge at the time. But a 51-year-old bridge operator fell with the rear bridge.

Witnesses saw the man lying on the ground as Airport Security Unit officers performed first aid on him. Police said his limbs were hurt and he was taken conscious to Princess Margaret Hospital.

A Cathay Pacific spokeswoman said all 262 passengers and its staff on board the Airbus A330 were safe as most of them were already on the plane at the time of the incident. The flight had been scheduled to depart at 4.10pm, but was delayed.

The spokeswoman said the plane was "slightly damaged". A picture taken by a witness showed the aircraft door torn off and lying on the ground alongside the fallen airbridge.

The passengers were rescheduled for a flight at 8.30am today and provided with hotel rooms and meals, she said. The injured man worked for the airline's subsidiary, Hong Kong Airport Services, she said. The authority's spokeswoman said the bridge was "faulty" and it was investigating. The authority closed all 48 rear airbridges at its gates in Terminal 1 for inspection, she said.

Former civil aviation director Peter Lok Kung-nam said the plane might have started to move away from the bridge earlier than it should have, or a gale could have toppled the bridge. The Observatory said the maximum wind speed at the airport was moderate at about 20 km/h.