A plane carrying 300 passengers was hit by a container van before it could take off at the Hong Kong International Airport on Thursday. While none of the plane’s passengers were harmed, the driver of the van was momentarily stuck in the vehicle as it was dragged along the tarmac by the plane. The driver did sustain head injuries.
“The plane was about to leave Hong Kong for Penang when it collided with a [China Aircraft Services] vehicle near apron 25,” an Airport Authority spokeswoman said.
A responding police officer revealed that the driver was recovered from the vehicle and taken to the hospital immediately. “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,” the police was quoted as saying.
Airline sources claimed that the plane crew were not found to be at fault, following an inquiry conducted by the airline. Recorded footage showed that the van driver was to blame.
The driver, who was identified only by his surname Cheng, had reportedly worked overtime in recent months and his fatigue might have caused the accident, according to Apple Daily (via Shanghaiist).
Security cameras caught the incident on video showing the van driving straight unto the plane but appeared to have veered slightly to the right at the last moment, seemingly to avoid the plane’s midsection.
The van, which ended up hitting the engine, was dragged further for several meters and got heavily damaged from the impact. Hong Kong Airport staff then halted the plane before it could take off with a damaged engine. A number of fire engines and ambulances immediately responded to the scene, immediately freeing the driver upon arrival.
DragonAir arranged for all passengers to be moved to another plane to proceed with their flight.