Cathay Dragon launches probe after plane suffers tail strike on landing in Cambodia

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Cathay Dragon is investigating why one of its aircraft suffered a tail strike on Friday upon landing in Siem Reap in Cambodia.

Pilot error, mechanical, technical, or weather-related issues would likely be the focus of the probe, experienced Cathay Pacific pilot and Hong Kong Airline Pilots Association president David Newbery said.

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“We are looking into the cause of the incident. It would be inappropriate to comment at this stage,” a Cathay Dragon spokeswoman said.

Engineers tended to the Airbus 321 on Saturday “as further inspection and necessary repair of the aircraft is required by our engineers before the next departure”, the airline explained.

Inspections of Flight KA248 showed damage around the tail section. There were no reports of injuries to the 143 passengers.

Passenger Nicky Law, who videoed the landing, said on his Facebook page: “The first bump onto the ground sounded quite heavy and I felt the head of the aircraft lift a bit higher than normal, and then the head of the aircraft had a rather hard contact with the ground.

“Afterwards yellow vehicles dashed onto the runway to meet our aircraft.”

The damage caused the return flight to Hong Kong to be cancelled. Most of the affected 160 passengers were put on other flights on Friday.

The airline said some passengers left Siem Reap on Saturday after being provided with overnight hotel accommodation and meals.

“Please be assured that the safety of the passengers and crew is our top priority. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused,” the airline stressed.

The Civil Aviation Department was notified and said it would “follow up” the incident “and take necessary action”.

Tail strikes are rare as the section is located near the rear pressure bulkhead, which keeps the cabin airtight. If ruptured it can cause the passenger cabin to depressurise.

-This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Airline investigating tail strike after bumpy landing

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