Korean Air plane bumps parked aircraft, no injuries reported

TOKYO (AP) — A Korean Air plane carrying 289 people hit a parked Cathay Pacific aircraft while being pushed by a ground vehicle ahead of takeoff at northern Japan’s New Chitose Airport on Tuesday but caused no fire or injuries, fire and airline officials said.

The incident happened only two weeks after a collision between a Japan Airlines airliner and a coast guard plane on a runway at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport which caused the passenger plane to catch fire. Passengers had to flee using emergency slides before the larger plane was gutted by fire. Five of the six crew members on the smaller plane were killed.

On Tuesday, the Korean Air plane had just started moving away from its parking spot to a runway for takeoff when its left wing came into contact with the vertical stabilizer of the empty Cathay Pacific plane parked next to it, according to the Chitose City Fire Department.

KAL said in a statement that its Flight 766, an Airbus A330-300, which was scheduled to fly to Seoul’s Inchon airport, came in contact with the Cathay aircraft “during a pushback” when a third-party “ground handler vehicle slipped due to heavy snow.” The airline said it is cooperating with all relevant authorities in the case.

None of the KAL plane’s 276 passengers and 13 crew members was injured, and no fire or fuel leaks were detected, the fire department said. KAL said a replacement plane was to arrive in New Chitose late Tuesday to pick up the passengers.

NHK public television showed the broken tip of the Korean Air plane’s left wing. Cathay Flight 584 was parked after arriving from Hong Kong, NHK said.

Aviation officials are investigating the causes of the crash.

Transportation officials are also still investigating the cause of the fatal Haneda Airport collision, focusing on the communication between air traffic controllers and the two planes.

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Associated Press writer Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

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