December 23, 2013 1:46 pm

Plane wing clips building at Johannesburg airport

In this photo taken Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, the wing of a British Airways Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft is seen after it clipped a building, slightly injuring four members of ground staff, as it made its way to the runway for take off for London, at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa. The Airports Company South Africa said Monday, Dec. 23 that none of the 180 passengers on board were injured in the accident which occurred late Sunday night.

AP Photo/Sean Durkan

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – The wing of a British Airways Boeing 747 crashed into a Johannesburg airport building, slightly injuring four ground staff.

The accident at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo airport late Sunday night was caused by the plane using the wrong taxi way which was too narrow for the passenger jet, the South African Civil Aviation Authority said Monday.

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Air traffic control had instructed the crew of the British Airways Boeing 747-400 departing for London to use a specific taxi way, said SACAA spokeswoman Phindiwe Gwebu in a statement. However, the plane travelled on a different taxi way that was narrower.

This resulted in the plane’s wing clipping a building behind the SAA technical hangars, she said.

Four ground-handling staff in the building sustained minor injuries when they were hit by debris after the aircraft’s wing struck the building.

“The 17 crew and 185 passengers who were in the aircraft escaped unharmed and were evacuated,” said Gwebu.

She said there was fuel spillage, but that this was contained by the airport’s fire services.

Investigators witnessed the recovery of the aircraft, and the removal of the flight recorder, she said.

“The investigation continues,” said Gwebu.

The aircraft was moved to a remote location and airport operations had not been disrupted by the accident, she said.

© 2013 The Canadian Press

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