Accident Boeing 747-436 G-BNLL,
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Date:Sunday 22 December 2013
Type:Silhouette image of generic B744 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing 747-436
Owner/operator:British Airways
Registration: G-BNLL
MSN: 24054/794
Year of manufacture:1990
Total airframe hrs:110578 hours
Cycles:12832 flights
Engine model:Rolls-Royce RB211-524G
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 202
Aircraft damage: Substantial, written off
Location:Johannesburg-O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) -   South Africa
Phase: Taxi
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Johannesburg-O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB/FAOR)
Destination airport:London-Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL)
Investigating agency: CAA S.A.
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The Boeing 747-436 operating British Airways Flight BA34 to London-Heathrow sustained substantial damage in a taxi accident at Johannesburg-O.R. Tambo International Airport, South Africa.
The flight crew prepared for a departure from runway 03L and expected a taxi clearance for taxiway Alpha, which ran parallel to runway 03L. After pushback the flight was cleared by the Tower controller via a different route: "Speedbird 34, taxi Bravo to Cat 2 holding point, Runway 03L". The flight crew did not re-brief for this new route and instead the copilot, who was Pilot Flying, began taxiing towards taxiway B. "Straight down all the way isn’t it? It is, yeah makes it nice and easy doesn’t it? And Bravo will take us all the way to the threshold. I’m following this line jinking slightly to the right and then straight ahead. Perfect", the copilot stated.
Taxiway Bravo ran parallel to taxiway Alpha. But at some point the taxiway curved left where it merged with Alpha. At that point a smaller taxiway Mike proceeded straight ahead to an apron.
In night time conditions the pilots missed the curve to the left because the two green lead in centreline lights were inoperative. The taxiway information sign lighting was also inoperative. The flight continued onto Mike and the copilot noticed that the taxiway seemed smaller. The Tower controller noticed the crew's mistake on his ground radar and instructed the crew to stop: "Speedbird 34, hold your position". At that time the right hand wing impacted a building to the right of the taxiway. The wing sliced through the second storey, injuring four workers inside.
The aircraft was immobilized and passengers deplaned through the rear exit on the left hand side after a fuel leak was contained.

PROBABLE CAUSE: The loss of situational awareness caused the crew to taxi straight ahead on the wrong path, crossing the intersection/junction of Bravo and Mike instead of following Bravo where it turns off to the right and leads to the Category 2 holding point. Following aircraft stand taxilane Mike; they collided with a building on the righthand side of Mike.
Contributory Factors: The crew did not conduct a briefing to discuss the cleared route, nor did they refer to the correct taxiway information in chart 10-6. In combination with the ground movement visual aids, this created confusion and loss of situational awareness when taxiing on taxiway Bravo.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA S.A.
Report number: CA18/2/3/9257
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 5 months
Download report: Final report


FAOR aerodrome chart

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft
15 October 2007 G-BNLL British Airways 0 London Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL) min
Collision with other aircraft on apron



photo (c) Werner Fischdick; Miami International Airport, FL (MIA/KMIA); 24 December 2007

photo (c) Alan Wilson; London-Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL); 26 February 2012; (CC:by-sa)

photo (c) Aero Icarus; Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX); 10 October 2011; (CC:by-sa)

Revision history:


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