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Plane Smashes Into Jet Bridge At Miami Int'l Airport

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- An investigation is underway after a plane smashed into a jet bridge at Miami International Airport (MIA).

Pictures obtained exclusively by CBS4 News show the gate crash that is taking one of the world's largest airplanes temporarily out of commission.

This British Airways Airbus 380 was coming in on its own power from London and coasting into a gate in terminal E at MIA Monday night, when it somehow collided with a passenger jet bridge.

The hit left visible damage to the aircraft's engine cowling.

ritish Airways Plane Hits Terminal Bridge 1/19/16
A Miami International Airport worker sent CBS4 pictures of plane after it hit a jet bridge on the tarmac on January 19, 2016. (Courtesy: MIA Worker)

Aviation expert and attorney Steve Marks told CBS4's Natalia Zea that this kind of collision is very rare.

"I was shocked that this could ever occur, especially on an international flight, with a 380 which usually gets the best people, the greatest attention and the most care," said Marks. "It's a very significant event even if it looks like from outer appearances to have minor damage."

Airport managers confirm the ground crew members, who work for private company Swissport, were guiding the massive $ 500-million aircraft in, when it hit. Swissport has not returned CBS4's requests for an interview.

Marks said it is likely the ground crew made an error.

"The ground crew has the responsibility and they have the only visual capability to see if there's an object in harm's way so they're the ones that have the last protection," said Marks.

He doesn't rule out that the flight crew could also have been distracted.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating what went wrong here.

British Airways released a statement reading in part, "Engineers are inspecting the aircraft and we are helping our customers due to fly to London as quickly as possible. Safety is always our top priority and we are sorry for the inconvenience."

Marks said this kind of damage could take weeks and a lot of money to repair.

"The FAA is going to make sure the aircraft is torn apart, inspected, tested, reassembled, inspected again, so it's going to be some time before this aircraft is likely back in service and it's going to cost them millions of dollars not only in inspections but also in the loss of use of the aircraft," said Marks.

The one silver lining here is that no one was hurt. Marks believes the passengers and crew on board felt very little in the collision.

Now, the challenge will be inspecting and repairing this specialized and expensive airplane. Marks said because British Airways does not have a large hangar here, focused on this type of aircraft, the company may have to fly in specialists to get the job done. In the meantime, the aircraft will sit at MIA.

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