An Air Canada-operated Boeing 777-300 narrowly avoided disaster at Montreal International Airport on Sunday after a truck which was parked underneath the aircraft caught fire and was engulfed in flames and thick black smoke.
Ironically, the vehicle was a potable water truck which delivers clean drinking water into the aircraft tanks. Unfortunately, any water in the truck wasn’t enough to put out the flames, and airport fire trucks raced to the scene to extinguish the blaze.
It remains unclear how much damage the aircraft sustained as a result of the fire, although video taken from the scene showed scorch marks up the side of the aircraft fuselage.
Airport operations were briefly disrupted as the fire services dealt with the incident, but flights quickly resumed even while the fire was still being dampened down. Following the fire, engineers opened all of the aircraft doors – presumably to clear smoke that had seeped into the cabin.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Air Canada confirmed that some passengers were still on the plane when the fire erupted.
“In accordance with our safety procedures, the crew responded professionally by ensuring the quick deplanement of remaining passengers from the aircraft, which had landed from Geneva,” the airline said in an emailed statement.
“We are very proud of our employees’ actions in responding to this incident. There were no injuries on the aircraft or the ground. The aircraft is currently off-line for maintenance inspection,” the statement continued.
“Air Canada will be working with the applicable authorities for the investigation into this incident.”
The incident took place on the same day that a crucial piece of ground equipment failed at Dublin Airport in Ireland, causing damage to an American Airlines-operated Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
The aircraft was being prepared for departure when the jetbridge suddenly and unexpectedly dropped while it was still attached to the plane. The jetbridge ripped the door clean off its hinges, although Boeing has planned for exactly this type of eventuality, and a repair shouldn’t be too difficult.
Thankfully, American Airlines confirmed that no passengers or crew were on the aircraft at the time of the accident, and no one was injured.
Tragically, however, a baggage handler at Montreal Airport was killed on Saturday in a horrific workplace accident. Preliminary investigations suggest the workers attempted to free some luggage that was trapped in a piece of machinery and they fell into the equipment.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.