AN ice-related technical fault which caused a Boeing 777 to crash-land on the perimeter of Heathrow Airport two years ago was “unrecognised” by aircraft safety procedures at the time.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the British Airways jet was forced to ditch after it lost power because of an engine fuel-flow blockage. The pilots managed to bring the arriving plane carrying 152 passengers down safely just short of the runway.
Captain Peter Burkill and co-pilot John Coward were hailed as heroes for narrowly averting a catastrophe. Just 34 passengers and 12 cabin crew suffered minor injuries in the January 2008 crash.
The AAIB said it was probable the fuel restriction to both engines was caused by a build-up of ice in the fuel system. The problem, described as unique, occurred after “sticky” ice crystals formed from water dissolved within the fuel.
The AIB has made 18 safety recommendations as a result.