Heavy winds push plane into building next to Malta airport

A privately-owned plane slammed into an office building on Wednesday night after presumably being blown right off the tarmac at Malta International Airport by heavy winds.

The aircraft, which was unoccupied and unmanned at the time, had been sitting on the runway at Malta International Airport in the village of Ħal Farruġ, before wind gusts pushed the aircraft through a fence and into the building, the Times of Malta reports.

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Pictures of the aftermath appear to show the plane’s nose embedded into the side of the offices, which are owned and operated by the Polidano Group, a construction manufacturing firm.

A privately-owned Dassault Falcon 7X business jet aircraft is seen after it was blown off the airport apron and into an adjacent building as strong winds hit the Maltese islands, according to local media, at Malta International Airport in Luqa, Malta, December 27, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi - RC1737690200

Officials at Malta International Airport (MIA) have confirmed that the aircraft, a Dassualt Falcon 7X, was parked on the airport's Apron 4 before it was displaced.  (Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi)

A privately-owned Dassault Falcon 7X business jet aircraft is seen after it was blown off the airport apron and into an adjacent building as strong winds hit the Maltese islands, according to local media, at Malta International Airport in Luqa, Malta, December 27, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi - RC1CF4C13190

No injuries have been reported by the airport or the owners of the building.  (Reuters)

"It seems like it was the result of the strong winds,” Jean Paul Sammut, a representative for the Polidano Group, told the Times of Malta. ”The building didn't sustain major damage, but we presume the aircraft did.”

Armed forces, police and emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene, although no injuries have been reported at the airport or the site of the crash.

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Officials at Malta International Airport (MIA) have since confirmed that the aircraft, a Dassualt Falcon 7X, was parked on Apron 4 before it was displaced, but MIA has yet to disclose how the plane was secured to the runway.

Sammut, meanwhile, believes that the plane was secured by security cables and brakes, but thinks those must have “blown off” in the ensuing winds, the Evening Standard reports.

Malta’s Bureau for Air Accident Investigation is currently probing the incident, the MIA confirmed in a statement.

“Malta International Airport is supporting the Bureau for Air Accident Investigation in its ongoing inquiry and therefore it would be premature to give any further details at this time. The airport’s Rescue and Fire Fighting Services also remain on standby should any special assistance be required."

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Some outlets also reported that the private plane belongs to businessman and politician Lord Michael Ashcroft, though a spokesman for Ashcroft’s office would not confirm as much for the BBC.