Panicked Passengers Flee Plane With Missing Wing Part
- By Max de Haldevang
- Mar. 21 2012 00:00
- Last edited 16:56
Passengers on a Transaero flight on Tuesday were told they were not allowed to leave a plane whose wing was missing a piece of equipment, RIA-Novosti reported.
The Boeing 737 flight from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk had a number of unsuccessful take-off attempts before a passenger realized that the wing was missing a component and informed a flight attendant.
The captain then thanked the passenger on the plane's speaker system and announced that the plane would take off anyway, slightly later than planned.
At that point, a number of passengers managed to leave the plane, but only after being told they would be detained by police if they did.
"They told us that if we exited, we would spend five hours in a police station," a passenger named Elena told Life News. "Eventually [we got off and] they returned the money for the tickets with a huge reduction, since we had voluntarily left the plane."
Transaero spokesman Sergei Bykhal said 27 out of around 70 passengers refused to fly.
A spokesperson for the airline told Prime news agency that the missing element is not usually a problem for that type of plane.
"They noticed that a hatch was missing on one of the wings. Normally for a Boeing 737 that is not a hindrance for fulfilling a flight," the spokesperson said.
A video filmed by a passenger and posted online by Komsomolskaya Pravda shows what appears to be a large hole in the wing.
The Moscow Interregional Transport Prosecutor's Office is looking into the incident, a spokesman for the agency told RIA-Novosti.
The plane eventually took off at 2:10 a.m. and arrived in Krasnoyarsk at 6:33 a.m.
Airlines from Russia and the CIS were the world's most deadly in 2011, according to the International Air Transport Association, with an accident rate of 11.07 per million take-offs in the first 11 months of the year, surpassing the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.