Dozens of passengers were evacuated from an aircraft at Toronto’s Pearson Airport on Friday night, after a plane under tow struck an arriving jet that was waiting to park, sparking a small fire, the airport authority said.
Fire and emergency services responded to the collision between the two planes from Sunwing Airlines and Westjet Airlines, which happened at 6:19 p.m. (2319 GMT), the Greater Toronto Airport Authority said in a statement.
Calgary-based Westjet said it had unconfirmed reports of “minor injuries” in the incident, but that all 168 passengers and six crew members on board its plane were safe and accounted for.
The jet, a Boeing 737-800, had just arrived in Toronto from the resort of Cancun, Mexico, and was waiting to proceed to the gate at the time of the collision, Westjet said.
Sunwing, part of the privately held Sunwing Travel Group, said there were no passengers or crew onboard its plane at the time of the collision, and that the aircraft was being towed by ground handler Swissport International Ltd.
A spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board, Canada’s transportation regulator, said that a team was headed to the airport to investigate.
CTV News reported that at least one person was being treated in hospital. An airport spokeswoman said a member of the Toronto Pearson Fire and Emergency Service sustained injuries.
A WestJet spokeswoman said there are unconfirmed reports of minor injuries. It’s unclear if any of those victims were hospitalized.
Passenger Adrianna Lobo called the incident “really scary,” especially since she was travelling with her children.
“When you see all the fire and the smoke and everybody standing, people didn’t know what to do,” she said.
Lobo said it wasn’t until she exited the plane that she was struck by the seriousness of the situation.
“I started crying because I realized what happened,” she said.
Another traveller said passengers didn’t initially understand what happened after the two planes collided, and a few even laughed.
“The plane rocked slightly, and we all looked out the window and we saw the (Sunwing) plane had backed up into us and had rammed their tail end directly into our wing, and it was all cracked and mangled and stuff. And everyone was kind of chuckling about it because it was just kind of crazy,” he said.
“And then suddenly it started spewing this steam. And then it set in that it’s not steam, it’s gas. And then the whole thing ignites and everyone starts panicking. It’s like chaos. Everyone is screaming, standing up. The flight attendants are shouting over a megaphone for everybody to calm down.”