Planes collide at Heathrow: Virgin 787 jet hits wing of British Airways Airbus on the tarmac in front of stunned passengers

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Written By Maya Cantina

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  •  Did you witness this morning’s incident? Email: Darren.Boyle@mailonline.co.uk

A Virgin Atlantic 787 has collided with a British Airways Airbus A350 while pushing back from the terminal building at Heathrow airport causing minor damage to both aircraft. 

The Virgin jet was being guided by a tug when its winglets struck the tail of the neighbouring BA jet. 

Emergency services raced to the scene following the low-speed impact. 

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: ‘We are aware that the wingtip of one of our empty aircraft came into contact with another aircraft whilst being towed from the stand at London Heathrow Terminal 3. 

‘The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority. We can confirm no customers were on board the Virgin Atlantic aircraft during this time. 

‘We’ve commenced a full and thorough investigation and our engineering teams are performing maintenance checks on the aircraft, which for now has been taken out of service.’

The Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 struck the British Airways Airbus A350 as it was being pushed back from the terminal building at Heathrow Airport

Emergency services raced to the scene following reports of the low speed collision

Emergency services raced to the scene following reports of the low speed collision 

One Twitter user, Alex Whittles wrote: ‘Just witnessed a plane crash at Heathrow!

‘A tug pushing back a Virgin 787, crashed the wing into a BA A350.’

The British Airways jet had recently arrived in London from Accra, Ghana and was due to depart on the return journey at 12.40pm from Gate 25 at Terminal 3. 

It’s departure has been pushed back to 6.30pm, according to Heathrow Airport’s departure board. 

BA said it has provided an alternative aircraft to ‘limit the impact on our customers’.

A spokesperson said: ‘One of our aircraft, whilst stationary at Heathrow earlier today, was involved in a collision with another airline’s jet, which was being towed from a stand at the time.

‘Our aircraft is being assessed by our engineering teams and we have provided an alternative aircraft to limit the impact on our customers.’

A Heathrow spokesperson said: ‘We are working alongside emergency services and our airline partners in response to an incident involving two aircraft on the ground earlier today.

‘At present, no passenger injuries have been reported and we do not anticipate there to be any ongoing impact to airport operations.’

Luggage handlers were operating in the area of the British Airways jet when the impact occurred.  

At least five fire engines attended the scene in case there was any fuel leaks or possible fire. A host of other airport security officials secured the scene. 

Virgin confirmed it had launched an investigation in a statement earlier today. 

Investigators will want to know if there were sufficient personnel involved in the push back from the terminal building, and how the Virgin jet was able to strike the horizontal stabiliser of the British Airways jet.

It is understood Virgin Atlantic’s flying programme has not been disrupted by the incident.

The tow movement was provided by a ground handling company under contract by Virgin Atlantic.

British Airways told MailOnline: ‘One of our aircraft, whilst stationary at Heathrow earlier today, was involved in a collision with another airline’s jet, which was being towed from a stand at the time.

‘Our aircraft is being assessed by our engineering teams and we have provided an alternative aircraft to limit the impact on our customers.’

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