How An Airbus A320 Got Stuck Under A Bridge In China

A misjudgment by a lorry driver in China caused the fuselage of an Airbus A320 to become wedged under a bridge. The quick-thinking driver managed to set it free, but not before videos of the event went viral on social media.

A320 stuck under a bridge
What looks like a China Southern A320 got stuck under a bridge. Photo: lasta29 via Wikimedia Commons

Commuters must have been wondering what was in their morning coffee as they became stuck in a jam behind… an Airbus?

A bungling lorry driver apparently misjudged the height of his precious load and tried to pass under a bridge that was just too low. Wedged between the bridge and the bed of the lorry, it seemed there was nowhere for the A320 to go; at least not without causing significant damage to the plane.

The incident happened on October 13th in the Daoli District of the city of Harbin. It was just six miles from Harbin Taiping International Airport, which may have been where it was headed.

Rescuing the aircraft

Eyewitness reports suggest that the driver stopped short of the Jinhe Bridge, likely in order to assess the clearance available. Whether he had the wrong information or not us unknown, but as he drove forwards, a sickening scraping sound was heard.

The Airbus was well and truly stuck. The driver could not proceed nor reverse to free his cargo. For 20 minutes, he pondered his predicament, all while keen smartphone owning onlookers filmed and photographed his shame.

But then, he had something of a eureka moment, and let the air out of his truck’s tires. Thanks to the vehicle having massive bouncy tires, this was enough to give the Airbus the clearance it needed to get on its way.

Of course, he reinflated the tires once on the other side. Apparently both the bridge and the fuselage are still undergoing inspection for damage.

At least it wasn’t new

Had this been a brand new fuselage on its way to Airbus’ final assembly line in Tianjin, the driver would have had some very awkward questions to answer. However, the fact the fuselage is liveried up and a long way from Tianjin suggests it was actually on its way to be broken up anyway.

A320 stuck under a bridge
Despite the lack of a name, the livery is almost certainly China Southern. Photo: Lasta29 via Wikimedia

Although the airline name has been removed, the stripes look very much like China Southern livery. Whatever airline it came from, it doesn’t look like it was destined to be used again. It certainly won’t be now!

Clearly, that driver needs better route planning software than he’s currently using. Have you ever seen a major aviation mess up like this? Let us know in the comments.