Virgin pilot blown from stairs by passing plane

A Virgin Australia pilot was recovering Thursday after being blown from the stairs leading up to his plane by the engine thrust of a passing Qantas 747 jumbo. The pilot was going through pre-flight checks on a 737 passenger jet at Brisbane on Friday when the aluminium stairs he was standing on were blown over by the force of the Qantas plane's engine, the Sydney Morning Herald said. Virgin confirmed the incident to AFP but said it could not go into details as aviation regulators were investigating. "A second officer was taken to hospital and treated for his injuries but he is now at home," a spokeswoman said. "The incident was last Friday at Brisbane and CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) is investigating so I can't say any more." The newspaper said the pilot suffered a fractured arm and leg and CASA was probing how the Qantas plane came to be so close to the Boeing 737, which is operated by Virgin subsidiary Pacific Blue. The 747 jumbo, which had stopped in Brisbane en route to Sydney, had been taxiing to a runway and was awaiting clearance from air traffic controllers to take off when the incident occurred. Embattled Qantas, which is locked in a dispute with unions that has forced it to ground seven jets and axe almost 500 flights, was not immediately available for comment. by Sebastian Smith (c) 2011 AFP
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Source: AFP
Date: Oct 20, 2011