AMSTERDAM (JTA) — An El Al plane was badly damaged in an accident caused by a local employee of Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands’ main hub for international traffic.
The accident Friday morning at Schiphol, in which no one was injured, ruptured the tip of the wing of the El Al Boeing 737 airplane as it taxied on the runway with 150 passengers aboard, a Schiphol Airport spokesperson told the Dutch AT5 television channel.
The plane, which was headed to Israel, bumped into a perimeter fence while being pushed back by a Schiphol vehicle. The passengers were evacuated from the plane and housed in hotels at El Al’s expense. They are to stay in the Netherlands at least until Saturday evening, as El Al will be unable to bring them back to Israel before the Jewish Sabbath.
The accident attracted considerable media attention in the Netherlands, where an El Al cargo plane in 1992 crashed into an Amsterdam housing project, killing 47 people. Aviation experts described the crash as the result of a mechanical malfunction, and several committees of inquiry found no evidence to substantiate rumors that the plane was carrying weapons and substances connected to biological and chemical arms.