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Damaged 747 lands safely in Vancouver
Damaged 747 lands safely in Vancouver

An exterior panel on a Cathay Pacific jetliner came away from the fuselage and damaged other panels as the plane was descending into Vancouver International Airport early Tuesday morning, officials with the Transportation Safety Board say.

The panel that covered the air conditioning unit on the belly of the Boeing 747-400 came off and dented other non-structural panels on the plane, but had no detrimental effect on the flight of the aircraft, TSB inspector Bill Yearwood told the CBC.

Airline officials said earlier an external panel on the fuselage was damaged as the plane descended for a scheduled stopover in Vancouver en route to Hong Kong from New York City.

There were unconfirmed reports some passengers on the plane reported hearing a noise at about 20,000 feet, while others were reportedly unaware of the incident until after the landing.

"Currently we don't have full details of the exact damage that it sustained, but an investigation is underway," said Cathay Pacific spokeswoman Jennifer Pearson.

None of the 363 passengers aboard the jumbo jet was hurt and the plane did not have to make an emergency landing when it touched down safely at 3:26 a.m. PT said Pearson.

"The first priority is all the passengers and crew are safe. They disembarked and were accommodated in hotels and will be booked on the first available flights to Hong Kong as soon as possible," said Pearson.

Last Friday, a Qantas jet had to make an emergency landing in Manila after an explosion punched a three-metre hole in the fuselage.

With files from the Canadian Press
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