A Middle East Airlines (MEA) passenger plane collided with a Turkish Airlines plane at Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria.
Initial reports said that the incident unfolded as the airport’s ground staff were pushing the MEA A330-200, which was being prepared to fly to Beirut, back from the gate on Wednesday afternoon.
According to these reports, the staff turned the plane too early and its winglet clipped the empennage (tail assembly) of the parked Turkish Airlines Boeing 777.
The 244-passenger MEA aircraft had been boarding passengers since noon that day before the collision prompted their evacuation; no injuries were reported from the incident.
And while the MEA Airbus sustained very little damage during the run-in, the same cannot be said for the Turkish Airlines plane.
Photos circulated on social media show a significant semi-circular rip in the back of the Turkish airliner.
As for the MEA A330-200, “the damage is minimal and the plane will return to Beirut normally,” said Engr. Fadi Al-Hassan, Director-General of Civil Aviation at Rafik Hariri International Airport.
Over the years, MEA planes have built a good reputation for their solid safety record. In 2001, for instance, one of the flag carrier’s flights sustained tail damage as it was landing at Cairo International Airport, Egypt.
As it approached the airport, it began to sway heavily and ended up straying from its designated glide path, ultimately performing a hard landing that caused serious damage to its body.
However, the incident was clean in terms of injuries and the plane went back to service with a Russian carrier after being repaired by its parent company, Airbus, later on.
Tragically, this particular aircraft was destroyed in the notorious 2015 Metrojet Flight 9268 crash after departing Sharm El Sheikh International Airport.
Russian investigators concluded that the plane had most likely been carrying an explosive device that was detonated mid-air, obliterating the aircraft and killing all passengers and crew members aboard it.