Crashed Heathrow Jet Moved Off Runway

A British Airways Boeing 777 sits outside a hangar after being removed from the southern runway at Heathrow Airport Sunday evening, Jan. 20, 2008. The investigation into the crash-landing of flight BA038 will continue from an engineering base at Heathrow Airport after the painstaking operation to move the aircraft was completed.
AP Photo/PA
The Wreckage of a British Airways jet that made a crash landing at Heathrow airport was moved off a runway on Sunday.

The Boeing 777, whose engines failed to yield more power requested first by the autopilot system, and then manually by the co-pilot before landing at Britain's largest airport on Thursday, had remained on the edge of one of the runways while it was examined by crash investigators.

An initial inquiry found all had gone normally with the Beijing to London flight until the aircraft was just two miles from touchdown and at a height of 600 feet.

CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports, with almost 700 Boeing 777s in service around the world, it has become an urgent matter to discover what caused the crash, and whether it might be a problem with all of them.

The plane, with 136 passengers and 16 crew on board, crash landed on grass just inside the airport's perimeter.

Phillips reports it took crews all day Sunday to hoist the 777's massive fuselage over the ground using multi-wheeled transporters, and then painstakingly inch it toward the maintanence hangar 500 yards away.

Co-pilot John Coward, who landed the aircraft, told a newspaper he worried the plane would fail to reach the airport.

"When I came in to land, I thought 'This is going to be a catastrophic crash,"' Coward was quoted as saying by the Sunday Mirror tabloid. "I didn't think we'd clear the fence at first. As we landed I was bracing myself for an enormous thud."

Passengers and witnesses said the Boeing 777's landing gear ripped away before the plane came to a halt on its belly. Nineteen injuries were reported.

Officials from the Air Accident Investigation Branch will continue to examine the aircraft once it is moved to a nearby hangar.

"The team has already painstakingly lifted the aircraft to prepare it for the move," said Bruce Hunter, British Airways' general manager of operational maintenance. "The next stage of this delicate operation will take several hours to complete as the team works meticulously to make sure the aircraft is moved slowly and safely to its new location."