Part of the wing fell off of a 747 flying from Hong Kong to Thailand, but the pilot turned back and landed safely as frightened passengers shot pictures of the hole in the wing, reported Reuters today (Monday).
Orient Thai Airlines flight OX262 to Chiang Mai had been in the air for 18 minutes on Thursday when the crew radioed Hong Kong for permission to return because of an unspecified mechanical problem, Grace Ng, a spokeswoman for the Civil Aviation Department, said.
Some passengers were alarmed to see a gap in the left wing of the Boeing 747-200.
They took pictures through the cabin windows and supplied them to local newspapers that displayed them prominently in today's editions.
After the jet landed, Hong Kong ground inspectors found that the top of the wing was missing a panel that measured 80cm by 100cm, Ng said.
Investigators were trying to determine why it fell off, but Ng said there had been no danger of a crash.
The Oriental Daily News said about 300 people were aboard the flight, but Ng was unable to provide any figures.