Planes collide on Toronto airport tarmac; fire prompts evacuation

Planes collide on Toronto airport tarmac; fire prompts evacuation
CTV Network via CNN

Two commercial planes collided on the ground Friday night at Toronto Pearson International Airport, sparking a small fire and prompting the evacuation of dozens of passengers, the city’s airport authority said.

A Sunwing Airlines aircraft backed out while being towed, striking a WestJet Airlines plane that had arrived from Cancun, Mexico, and was waiting to proceed to a gate, officials said.

There were 168 passengers and six crew members aboard the arriving airplane, according to Lauren Stewart, a WestJet spokeswoman.

No passengers or crew members were aboard the Sunwing aircraft, the airline tweeted. A “ground handling service provider,” was towing the plane, it said.

Fire trucks and ambulances descended on the tarmac when a small fire on the Sunwing aircraft began, said Beverly MacDonald, a spokeswoman with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority.

Video footage shows passengers exiting on an emergency slide as flames rose from the tail of the other airplane.

No passengers were injured, but a member of the airport’s fire and emergency services was taken to the hospital, CNN affiliate CTV Network reported.

Adriana Lobo, who was traveling with her children aboard the WestJet plane, said passengers were initially unsure of what had happened until they were evacuated.

“When you see all the fire and the smoke and everybody standing, people didn’t know what to do,” she told CTV Network.

Late Friday in New York, an accident also happened on a runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport when the right wing of a China Southern Airlines plane tipped the tail of a Kuwait Airlines plane, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.

No injuries were reported, and the Kuwait passengers safely deplaned, Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico said. There were no passengers on the China Southern plane, Marsico said.

Both planes suffered damage, the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, the union representing the Port Authority police, said on Twitter.

A Port Authority police “aircraft rescue fire fighter unit” responded to the Terminal 4 area, the union said.