Missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 feared crashed off Vietnam ‘collided with another plane breaking its wingtip two years ago’
- Missing plane was involved in a crash at Shanghai’s Pudong airport
- The incident in August 2012 left the plane with a broken wingtip
- Flight MH307 disappeared off the coast of Vietnam two hours after take off
- Major search operation launched by air and sea to locate plane
- Two oil slicks could pinpoint a crash site, but no wreckage has been found
While taxiing at Shanghai’s Pudong airport, its wingtip hit the tail of another aircraft.
According to an independent accident-tracking site, the damage suffered by the Boeing 777 was ‘substantial’.
The report filed on the Aviation Safety Network listed the incident, stating: ‘A taxiing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 passenger plane contacted the tail of a China Eastern Airlines A340 plane, waiting on the taxiway at Pudong International Airport. no one was injured.
‘The tip of the wing of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was broken off and hung on the tail of the China Eastern Airbus 340-600, according to pictures posted by passengers on the Internet.‘
Flight MH307 disappeared off the coast of Vietnam late yesterday when the plane lost contact with air traffic controllers.
The Malaysian Airline passenger jet took off from Kuala Lumpur airport at 12.21am local time (4.21pm GMT) bound for Beijing where it was expected to land at 6.30am (10.30pm GMT).
But two hours into the flight contact was lost and the plane, having reached 35,000ft, disappeared around 153 miles off the Vietnamese coast
A major search operation was launched by Malaysia, Vietnam, China, aided by a host of other nations including the U.S.
Two oil slicks were spotted in the Gulf of Thailand by Vietnamese air force planes before the air search was abandoned because of fading daylight. The search continued at sea and the air search is expected to resume in daylight.
As Malaysian Airlines released a list of the passengers aboard the plane, it emerged two of the names listed matched passports stolen in Thailand.
An Italian national Luigi Maraldi called his parents from Thailand to let them know he is ‘alive and well’, having heard his name linked to the crash.
The Italian foreign ministry said in Rome that an Italian was listed on the flight’s manifest although no national from the country was on board.
The passenger list provided by the airline includes Luigi Maraldi, 37, an Italian citizen. Newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported that Maraldi’s passport was stolen in Thailand last August. The Italian Interior Ministry was unable to immediately comment on the report.
In Vienna, the Austrian foreign ministry said an Austrian listed among the passengers was safe and had reported his passport stolen two years ago while he was travelling in Thailand.
Asked for a possible explanation for the plane’s disappearance, Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told a news conference: ‘We are not ruling out any possibilities.’
By late on Saturday night, there were no confirmed signs of the plane or any wreckage, over 20 hours after it went missing. Operations will continue through the night, officials said.
The Boeing 777 flown by Malaysia Airlines that disappeared over the South China Sea is one of the world’s most popular – and safest – jets.
The long-range jumbo jet has helped connect cities at the far ends of the globe, with flights as long as 16 hours.
But more impressive is its safety record: The first fatal crash in its 19-year history only came last July when an Asiana Airlines jet landed short of the runway in San Francisco. Three of the 307 people aboard died.
Airlines like the plane because it is capable of flying extremely long distances thanks to two giant engines.
Each engine is so massive that a row of at least five coach seats could fit inside it. By having just two engines, the plane burns through less fuel than four-engine jets, like the Boeing 747, which it has essentially replaced.
‘It has provided a new standard in both efficiency and safety,’ said Richard Aboulafia, an aviation consultant with the Teal Group.
‘The 777 has enjoyed one of the safest records of any jetliner built.’
Besides last year’s Asiana crash, the only other serious incident with the 777 came in January 2008 when a British Airways jet landed about 1,000 feet short of the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Malaysia Airlines did have an incident in August 2005 with a 777 flying from Perth, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s largest city.
While flying 38,000 feet above the Indian Ocean, the plane’s software incorrectly measured speed and acceleration, causing the plane to suddenly shoot up 3,000 feet.
The pilot disengaged the autopilot and descended and landed safely back in Perth. A software update was quickly made on planes around the world.
Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200ER jets in its fleet of about 100 planes. The first was delivered on April 23, 1997, and the most recent on December 13, 2004, according to Boeing. The 200ER is one of four versions of the 777.
The 777 is capable of flying 7,250 miles non-stop. Its two Rolls-Royce Trent 875 engines each have 74,600lb of thrust, letting the plane cruise at Mach 0.84, or nearly 640 mph.
A new model has a list price of 261.5 million US dollars (£156 million), although airlines usually negotiate discounts.
The 777 was the first twin-engine plane to be immediately certified to fly over the ocean as far as 180 minutes from any emergency landing airport.
Government safety regulators have determined that it could fly for nearly three hours on a single engine in the case of an emergency.
Source: Mail Online