777 Hatch Landed Just 18 Feet From Couple On A Stroll
Britain's Air Accident
Investigation Branch says the door of a British Airways 777 wasn't
properly fastened shut -- and that's why, back in June, 2003, the
door fell off the aircraft just after it took off from London's
The door, weighing 70 pounds or so, landed in Surrey, narrowly
missing a couple out for a stroll.
Now, British Airways says it has reviewed its safety records and
has made changes as a result of the near-miss.
Members of the cabin crew reported hearing a "thump and... a
loud bang" after the door separated from the aircraft, according to
the BBC. The AAIB found only one of the door's 13 latches had
likely been fastened.
fastening had apparently occurred during a routine maintenance
check due to a deviation from standard procedures; a practice that
reportedly had been fostered by features of the maintenance system
and may have been commonplace," according to the report, quoted by
The door, according to the report, "was found when a couple who
had been out walking described having seen it fall nearby after
their attention had been drawn by another substantial part of the
door impacting the ground around 20 feet from them."
The aircraft was able to land safely back at Gatwick.
BA said it has reviewed the report and has already made efforts
to comply with the recommendations.
"We cooperated with the AAIB throughout the investigation and
note the new safety recommendation contained in the report,"
British Airways said in a statement quoted by the BBC. "The safety
and security of our operation is our top priority and we will study
the report in detail to ensure that we learn from what was a very
rare and unusual event."
FMI: www.aaib.gov.uk, www.britishairways.com