French investigators have started an inquiry after an El Al Boeing 747-400 suffered severe engine damage at Paris after it taxied over its pushback tractor.

The Israeli-operated aircraft was preparing to depart Paris Charles de Gaulle for Tel Aviv during late morning on 13 April when the incident occurred. It crushed the tow tractor under the number three engine, heavily damaging both.

A spokesman for airports operator Aeroports de Paris says the pushback tractor had been disconnected from the aircraft but was still under the 747 when it started to taxi.

“During the departure the tractor had pushed back the aircraft,” he says. “It was still under the aircraft and the pilot decided to go without authorisation from the ground staff. Normally the pilot has to wait for ground staff authorisation before moving.”

engine crash

He points out that El Al ground personnel handle the airline at Charles de Gaulle. El Al could not immediately be reached for comment.

The aircraft involved was the youngest 747-400 in El Al’s fleet, an eight-year old example registered 4X-ELD.

engine crash

All of El Al’s 747-400s are equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW4056 powerplants. None of the occupants on board the jet, including 374 passengers, was injured.

For more Boeing 747 pictures please visit our 747 page