Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 Shreds Wing After Hitting Pole in Rome
A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 smashed into a light pole while it was being towed to its gate at Fiumicino Airport (FCO) in Rome on Wednesday. Pictures of the incident show the wingtip wrapped around a pole that was near the aircraft tow path. Fortunately, no passengers were on board.
"Cathay Pacific Flight CX292 which was scheduled to depart from Rome at 13.05 local time was involved in a towing incident in which one of its wing tips struck a standing pole," a spokesperson for the airline told TPG. "The incident occurred when the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft was being towed by a truck operated by a local ground handling agent at the airport."
According to flight tracking site FlightAware, CX292 is the airline's service from FCO to Hong Kong (HKG). FlightAware shows that the flight was indeed cancelled on Wednesday. There were no passengers onboard because the 777 was being towed before the flight.
A source at CX told the South China Morning Post, the main daily paper in Hong Kong, that the plane would likely "be grounded for a good while" for repairs. The 777 is clearly not in a flyable condition, so repairs will have to be done on the spot. Boeing maintains a dedicated team of emergency mechanics known as the AOG team — from "Aircraft on Ground" — ready to fly all over the world at a moment's notice for just this sort of incident.
The airline said it is "actively arranging alternatives for passengers to travel to their final destinations."
A similar situation occurred last week when a Royal Air Maroc Dreamliner ripped through the tail of a Turkish Airlines 777 as it was taxiing at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport (IST). Luckily there were no injuries in that incident.
The wording of this story has been edited to clarify that there were no passengers on board.