Delivery van crashes into Dragonair plane carrying 295 people at Hong Kong airport

Footage of the incident shows vehicle driving directly towards the aircraft, hitting the engine, then being dragged along the tarmac

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 September, 2016, 5:50pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 September, 2016, 9:41pm

A van collided with a Dragonair plane carrying nearly 300 people at Hong Kong International Airport on Thursday afternoon, leaving the driver trapped in the vehicle with head injuries.

Flight KA691 was leaving an apron heading to the runway at shortly after 4pm, the Airport Authority said.

“The plane was about to leave Hong Kong for Penang when it collided with a [China Aircraft Services] vehicle near apron 25,” an authority spokeswoman said.

A police spokesman said: “The driver who was trapped on board the light goods vehicle was rescued. He was injured in the head and shoulder and taken conscious to North Lantau Hospital for treatment.”

Dragonair sources said its crew were not thought to be at fault, according to an inquiry by the airline.

Footage of the incident shows the van driving directly towards the aircraft as it rolls towards the runway. The vehicle appears to shift to the right of the plane at the last moment, avoiding the belly of the plane but hitting one of its engines.

The van was dragged several metres along the tarmac. At the point of collision, a member of the airport ground staff rushed in front of the plane signalling frantically for it to stop.

The video appeared to corroborate initial claims that the van driver was at fault.

Safety is our top priority. Dragonair will fully assist with the investigation
A Dragonair spokeswoman

Five fire engines and two ambulances were deployed after receiving a call at 4.19pm and the injured driver was freed by firefighters, according to the Fire Services Department.

Dragonair said there were no reports of any injuries to the 295 passengers or crew. All passengers disembarked and arrangements were made for another aircraft to operate the flight. The airline expressed “concern” for the well-being of the driver.

The aircraft was an 18-year-old Airbus A330 with a maximum capacity of 307 passengers.

Although the area was cordoned off, flight departures were not seriously affected, though some planes expecting to park in the vicinity were moved elsewhere around the airport.

The Civil Aviation Department said it would follow up on the incident but would not confirm if a formal investigation would be launched.

A Dragonair spokeswoman said: “Safety is our top priority. Dragonair will fully assist with the investigation.”

Any probe would seek to determine whether the driver was under the influence of a substance, intoxicated, had a medical issue or fell unconscious at the wheel, or was distracted.