Rachet strap punctures Link Airways plane mid-air, three assessed for injuries

Bidgee / Wikimedia Commons, Robyn Ironside / Twitter

Three passengers were assessed for minor injuries after a Link Airways SAAB 340 turboprop suffered fuselage damage during departure from Canberra in Australia.  

The incident occurred on the morning of November 10, 2022, when the Link Airways SAAB 340 twin-engine turboprop was performing flight VA633 between Canberra (CBR) and Sydney (SYD).   

According to flight history found on Flightradar24.com, the 25-year-old turboprop, registered VH-VEQ, took off from Canberra Airport at 9.05 a.m. (GTM+11) and was scheduled to land at Sydney Airport around one and a half hours after departure.   

But shortly after takeoff, the SAAB 340 was forced to perform an emergency landing, returning to CBR after an object from the propeller punctured its fuselage.   

The aircraft spent around 10 minutes in the sky with a hole in the side of its body, according to The Canberra Times.   

It was later confirmed that a ratchet strap attached to a propeller punctured the side of the plane.  

A photograph taken by an incident witness showed one of the ratchet strap ends appearing inside the cabin.   

The three passengers were taken to the ACT Ambulance Service after disembarking the aircraft.  

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) chief commissioner Angus Mitchell told ABC News that 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.  

“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,” the chief commissioner said  

No further incidents were reported after the landing.  

According to data from Planespotters.net, Brisbane Airport-based regional carrier Link Airways currently operates a monogamous fleet consisting of 10 SAAB 340s with an average aircraft age of 25.8 years. 


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