An Air France super jumbo jet taxiing out to the runway clipped the tail of a regional Delta plane at JFK Airport last night, spinning it forcefully. The huge Air France A380, which can seat over 500 passengers, struck Comair flight 6293, which had just landed from Boston and was taxiing to the gate. There were 62 passengers and four crew members on board the smaller plane, and fortunately, no one was hurt. See the video after the cut.
Air France Flight 7, carrying 495 passengers and 25 crew, was headed to Paris and as it taxiied out, the left wingtip struck the tail of the Comair plane. "It was pretty damned scary," Poppy Lawton, 29, of London, told the New York Daily News. She was aboard the Delta flight that got hit. "You could hear things breaking, almost like glass breaking." Another passenger, Sebastien Pinel, said: "The plane was rocking, first to the right, then to the left. Nobody knew what happened until we got out of the plane." The plane spun around almost 90 degrees in the collision.
By contrast, the passengers on the larger plane hardly noticed anything. A CNN correspondent happened to be on the plane, and felt only a "slight rumble akin to hitting a patch of rough pavement". About a foot on the end of the A380 wing was damaged.
The Comair plane was attempting to exit the taxiway, and may have been stopped due to congestion on the ramp. It was dark and raining, and "both pilots and controllers would have been confronted with sea of flashing lights and reflections which could partly explain why the Air France pilot may not have seen the regional jet," Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation said.
FAA investigators are assessing the damaged planes, and pilots and crew from both planes will be interviewed. It is unclear right now whether either of the planes are flightworthy.
The passengers from both planes were deboarded and brought into a terminal. Most of the Comair passengers were even able to make their connections, and Air France passengers were provided with hotel accommodations or transferred to other flights.