A Boeing 777 has been involved in an incident on the runway in Porto after a suspected miscommunication with groundstaff.
The Boeing 777-300ER, registered D2-TEH, was reported to have veered off the runway earlier today. There is suggestion that the aircraft collided with a pole which stopped it moving further.
Aviação TV who first reported the news said that damage to the aircraft was still being evaluated at Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport where the incident occurred.
The aircraft belongs to Angolan airline, TAAG and the accident is thought to have happened due to uncoordinated actions between the pilot and airport staff. Aviação TV said the aircraft was in the “positioning manoeuvre”.
In video footage shared on Facebook, the aircraft appears to move slowly within its path on the runway before a snap is heard and the aircraft is seen running onto the grass and eventually grounding to a stop. A member of ground staff can be seen running towards the aircraft.
How was the incident allowed to happen?
It is still unclear as to how the miscommunication happened and at what stage the aircraft was found. Further still, we are not yet sure whether there were passengers on board at the time.
There has been no official announcement from TAAG or Porto’s airport on the matter but there is a suggestion on social media that the accident was caused by a snapped towbar. The comments suggest that the person manning the cockpit was not paying enough attention to notice that the towbar had snapped.
But the jury is out as to who precisely is to blame. The ground staff who used an inappropriate towbar? Or the staff onboard the plane at the time? Whatever the verdict, we know that safety should always be the biggest priority.
It goes without saying that accidents of this stature should not be happening. Towing aircraft is notoriously dangerous and requires cooperation between all parties involved. A similar accident has already happened this year. In May, Kuwait Airlines announced that a groundworker had been killed whilst performing a routine tractor tow.
Today’s incident at Porto was reported around 14:30 local time in Porto but no flights have been recorded by the aircraft since then.
According to Flight Radar 24, D2-TEH was reported to have flown from Luanda International Airport to Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport arriving in Portugal this morning. The aircraft left Angola at 10:49 PM and arrived in Porto at 5:43 AM. There is no other data of delayed or cancelled flights recorded on Flight Radar 24 for the D2-TEH aircraft.
Who is TAAG?
TAAG Angola Airlines is the national airline of Angola. It operates domestic as well as some international flights to destinations in Africa, Brazil, Cuba, China and Portugal. It currently flies a Boeing-only fleet made up of 13 aircraft. It has eight 777s as well as five 737-700 aircraft. It has previously owned 747 aircraft as well as two Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, according to Air Fleets.
What do you make of the incident? Let us know!