Two injured after Longtail Aviation 747 engine parts land on Dutch town
Two people were injured this weekend when engine parts from a Boeing 747 operated by Bermudian-based Longtail Aviation fell off and crashed into a Dutch town.
The incident happened after one of the 747’s four engines caught fire just after take-off from Maastricht Aachen Airport on Saturday and pieces of the turbine blades broke off, an airport spokesman told Dutch broadcaster NOL.
NOL said that pieces of metal from the plane landed on the town of Meerssen.
Two people were injured – an elderly woman was treated in hospital for a head injury and a child was burnt after picking up a piece of the debris.
Cars and homes were also damaged.
But NOL said the full extent of the damage had still to be assessed.
The aircraft flew on three engines and later landed at the Liège airport in Belgium.
Martin Amick, the CEO of Longtail Aviation, said the firm’s emergency response plan had been activated and it was co-operating with the Dutch authorities.
He added: “Our flight crew dealt with this situation professionally and in accordance with the correct aviation standards, resulting in a safe and uneventful landing.
“We are now in the process of working closely with the Dutch, Belgian, Bermuda and UK authorities to understand the cause of this incident.”
Dutch police on Saturday warned people not to touch any parts from the plane, but to call the police.
The Boeing 747 was en route from Maastricht to New York and took off at about 4.10pm.
NOL said he aircraft circled near Liège, at an altitude of about two miles, before it touched down.
The Dutch Safety Board has launched an investigation into the incident.
Dutch aviation website LuchvaartNieuws.nl said the affected aircraft was 30 years old and previously flew with Singapore Airlines, Air India, Martinair, Air Cargo Germany and Ruby Star Airways before it was acquired by Longtail.
Longtail holds a gold rating from aviation safety experts Argus, although their website said the firm has a platinium designation.
Mr Amick said: “Longtail has been Argus platinum in the past, but at the moment we are Argus gold.”
The Royal Gazette reported last June that Longtail had added the aircraft to its fleet.
Mr Amick said at the time: “This is an excellent time to add a heavy-lifting cargo aircraft because the global supply chain is under duress.
“Additional long-range, heavy aircraft are critically needed to move medical supplies from China to the West and this new aircraft will help meet that need.”
He added the aircraft would be used for cargo trips, which were in demand due to a reduction in cargo space as many passenger aircraft, which also have cargo holds, were grounded because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority announced the addition of the freighter to Longtail Aviation's fleet and the Bermuda Aircraft Registry after approval and issuance of operations specifications.
Peter Adhemar, the director of operations at BCCA, said in June: “The BCAA's rigorous approval process requires Longtail Aviation to comply with a set of very stringent regulations.
“It is a huge achievement to both BCAA and Longtail to have added this aircraft in such a short time frame.
“The process involved a team of five people in operations and two people in airworthiness to complete.
“We were working to an ambitious timeline and with Covid-19 travel restrictions in place we developed innovative procedures thanks to the communication advances made available to BCAA staff working from home.
”This ensured that full regulatory compliance was achieved despite not holding a single face-to-face in office meeting or inspection.”