Link Airways plane cabin punctured by ratchet strap, makes emergency landing

The flight had to return to the Australian capital's Canberra International Airport seven minutes after the fuselage of the plane was penetrated by a ratchet strap used to hold the plane on the ground.

Link Airways plane cabin punctured by ratchet strap, makes emergency landing

Australian regional airline Link Airways operating on behalf of Virgin Australia, averted a major disaster. While conducting a flight scheduled to depart from Canberra International Airport (CBR) for Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport, the plane suffered fuselage damage. The strap used to secure the left-handed propeller to the ground struck the plane, ending up damaging the plane. Because of the damage sustained by the plane, three passengers on board got injured in the incident, as reported by Simpleflying.

While conducting flight VA633, the plane departed from Canberra International Airport at 08:09, with the plans of landing at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD) at 09:05. After alerting the flight deck that the strap had penetrated the cabin, the crew members promptly stopped ascending and headed back to Canberra, where they landed seven minutes after taking off.

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According to the Australian Federal Police, the three passengers received minor medical attention for their wounds. Based on reports, the crew did not take the strap off before takeoff. The strap is used to attach the aircraft's left propeller overnight. In a statement to ABC news Angus Mitchell, the chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said, "The strap which broke a hole in the plane’s fuselage was used to secure the propeller overnight and was supposed to be removed before the flight."

He further added, "Transport safety investigators from the ATSB's Canberra office have deployed to Canberra Airport to inspect the aircraft, to begin the process of interviewing the flight crew and passengers, and to gather other relevant information for the investigation."

Following the incident with the Saab 340B aircraft, the passengers shared the picture of the strap penetrating the cabin on social media. The plane was delivered to Mesaba Airlines in 1997, is a 25-year-old Saab. Before flying for Link Airways just this year, in June 2022, it has previously flown for Northwest Airlink, Delta Connection, and PenAir, among others.

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