Date
18 October 2017
An engine lies on the roof of the crushed van, inches from the driver's head. Sources said the driver might have been suffering from work-related stress. Photo: Facebook/hkincident
An engine lies on the roof of the crushed van, inches from the driver's head. Sources said the driver might have been suffering from work-related stress. Photo: Facebook/hkincident

Plane crushes van in freak Hong Kong airport accident

A van driver is lucky to be alive after a Dragonair passenger plane clipped the vehicle and pierced its roof while taxiing in Hong Kong airport.

The Dragonair A330 aircraft was due to fly to Penang in Malaysia when it collided with the maintenance van on the tarmac, CNN reports.

“While the aircraft was taxiing away from the departure bay, one of the engines was hit by a maintenance vehicle operated by another company,” a Dragonair spokesperson told CNN.

“The aircraft is being inspected by our engineers and our maintenance service provider.”

Dramatic footage shows the plane’s engine crushing the van’s roof, just inches from the driver’s head.

He was later taken to hospital, a Hong Kong International Airport spokesman said.

There were no injuries to the 295 passengers or crew on board, a Dragonair spokesman told CNN, adding that another aircraft was arranged to carry out the flight.

“Our plane was about to go into the runway when the van hit the engine and got stuck inside,” said witness Toshiro Kobayashi, who filmed dozens of emergency staff attending the scene.

“Passengers were also stuck inside the plane for about an hour before evacuated back to terminal.”

The 41-year-old driver, surnamed Cheng, appeared to drive his van toward the plane in what could be a case of work-related fatigue, according to Apple Daily.

He was pulled out of the car unconscious and was emotional when he awoke, preventing him from being interviewed by the police.

A source told Apple Daily that Cheng had been required to work overtime in the past few months due to a manpower shortage.

That and spells of early and late shifts might have worn him down.

Jeremy Tam, an experienced commercial pilot, said the accident could have resulted from miscommunication.

Service vehicles are equipped to communicate with each other and with the control center, he said.

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AC/ RA

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