Shoppers in Essex were left in a state of shock today after an Airbus A320 jet came to a complete stop on the roof of the branch of Argos adjacent to Southend Airport.
According to witnesses, the EasyJet flight from Gran Canaria landed on the runway shortly after 2pm this afternoon, and instead of stopping in the terminal a sudden micro tornado pushed it on top of the retail park building and flipped it around.
Shopper Graham Greenshield said: ‘We heard the usual reverse thruster noise that you get when an aircraft lands, and then all of a sudden I saw the aircraft’s tail emerge on the roof of Argos.’
‘Everyone managed to get out safely and slide down the emergency chutes, with UK Border Force taking over Sports Direct as an emergency immigration processing centre.’
‘About an hour later, the airport’s resident aircraft relocation crane arrived and put the jet back onto the airport tarmac.’
Airport spokesperson Stedward O’Bart said: ‘Fortunately, the flight from Gran Canaria only had 36 people on board, and this meant that the plane was reasonably light when it came to a halt on top of Argos.’
‘If the aircraft had been any heavier, it could have fallen through the roof, but on this occasion we have been able to just lift it back into the airport grounds and get it ready for the next flight.’
‘We have issued an urgent flight safety bulletin to all pilots in the region to say that all landings should be kept to the runway in future.’
This incident capped off a troubled week for Southend Airport. On Thursday, thick fog led to the pilot of an incoming flight from Malaga getting disoriented and guiding the aircraft to Prague.