Boeing cargo plane clipped a tree as it took off and was filmed passing mere feet above electrical wires – with pilots slammed for attempting flight despite knowing the aircraft was overweight
- The incident occurred in Colombia and involved an Aerosucre Boeing 737-200
- It took off from Puerto Carreno Airport but returned after an engine failure
- A subsequent inspection found that the engine had ingested vegetation
- READ MORE: How YOU can land an airliner in an emergency
A cargo aircraft that struck the top of a tree at the end of a runway as it took off was 606lbs (274kg) overweight, according to an investigation into the incident.
On February 3, 2022, an Aerosucre Boeing 737-200 with a crew of five took off from Puerto Carreno Airport in Colombia at a dangerously low altitude and, as it became airborne and the landing gear retracted, clipped the top of a 46ft- (14m) high tree located 295m (967ft) past the end of the runway.
Startling video footage from a doorbell camera installed at a house beyond the runway shows the aircraft passing low overhead, missing electrical wires by mere feet and causing significant movement in the vegetation beneath.
The crew returned to the airport around 20 minutes after departure after the left-hand engine lost power.
A subsequent inspection found that the engine had ingested vegetation and vegetation was discovered embedded in parts of the left wing.
On February 3, 2022, an Aerosucre Boeing 737-200 took off from Puerto Carreno Airport at a dangerously low altitude. Startling video footage (above) from a doorbell camera installed at a house beyond the runway shows the aircraft passing low overhead
Before returning to the airport the Bogota-bound aircraft climbed to 2,500ft and the crew restarted the left-hand engine. However, it was overheating and smoke was seen coming out of it after the aircraft landed, though no fire was evident.
As reported in the Aviation Herald, Colombia’s Aeronautica Civil released its findings into the ‘serious incident’ this week, concluding that the aircraft became airborne too far down the runway owing to ‘extreme conditions of aircraft weight’, with thinner air density caused by a warmer temperature than expected – 33.9C – pinpointed as another contributing factor.
It was also noted that the first officer claimed that the captain did not get the aircraft airborne when he called out that take-off speed had been called – possibly because of the extra weight.
The report said that ‘late rotation [when the pilot pulls the nose of the aircraft up to take off] caused by extreme conditions of aircraft weight and density altitude… did not permit the aircraft to achieve a sufficient climb rate, climb angle and altitude to clear the obstacles in the take-off trajectory’.
The crew was apparently aware that the aircraft was overweight – at 108,577lbs versus a maximum take-off weight of 107,950lbs – and was criticised in the report for being ‘overconfident’ in their assumption that they could lose weight during the taxi for departure.
The Aerosucre Boeing 737-200 pictured at Puerto Carreno Airport after it hit a tree upon take-off
The incident comes seven years after an Aerosucre plane overshot the runway at Puerto Carreno and crashed, killing five people, with one person surviving.
Witnesses captured dramatic footage of the flight overshooting the runway and struggling to gain altitude.
The footage then shows the Boeing 727 aircraft descending into a field and bursting into flames.