A Brazilian airliner blew large chunks of asphalt clean off the runway as it was accelerating for takeoff on Tuesday, with some of the asphalt landing on the aircraft and causing ‘substantial’ damage to the vertical stabilizer.
Video of the incident was caught by a passenger inside the airport terminal at Navgantes in Santa Catarina state, Brazil, as the Boeing 737 aircraft operated by GOL Airlines prepared to takeoff.
The pilots of GOL flight G3-1843 bound for Rio de Janeiro had taxied along the runway and turned around at the very end in preparation for takeoff but as the aircraft started to accelerate, the thrust from the engine tore chunks of asphalt from the end of the runway.
Some of the asphalt flew into the air and then landed back onto the tail of the aircraft, causing unspecified but substantial damage.
Thankfully, the pilots quickly rejected the takeoff and taxied back to the gate where engineers were called. The flight had to be cancelled, but there were no reported injuries.
The runway was badly damaged, and the airport had to close for around five hours while urgent repairs were carried out.
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.