British Airways wing clips S Africa OR Tambo airport building

Passenger: "We heard a real bang on the side of the aircraft"

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A plane carrying more than 200 people has struck an office building while preparing to take off from the South African city of Johannesburg.

The British Airways flight to London was taxiing at OR Tambo International Airport when its right wing hit the building, injuring four people inside.

Images show the wing of the Boeing 747 wedged in the structure.

South Africa's Civil Aviation Authority said the aircraft had travelled down a taxi-way that was too narrow for it.

The incident involving the Boeing 747-400 happened late on Sunday.

Plane wing wedged in office building The wing of the Boeing 747 is seen wedged in the airport building
Harriet Tolputt picture The plane's jet engines are visible in a second photo taken by a passenger

The control tower "told them to take one taxi-way and they took another one. They took a wrong one," said aviation authority spokeswoman Phindiwe Gwebu.

Passenger John Hart told the BBC: "We were just taxiing along and then boom!"

He said the captain described it as a "little incident" but everyone on the right-hand side of the plane could see what had really happened.

None of those on board was injured but four ground staff in the building were hurt.

"They sustained slight injuries and are fine," a spokesperson for Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) told Eyewitness News.

Mr Hart said the passengers were allowed to leave the plane after about an hour but because of the fuel spillage they had still not been able to reclaim their luggage.

The aircraft has since been moved and operations have not been disrupted, ACSA says.

In a statement to the BBC, British Airways said all 182 passengers were provided with hotel accommodation and alternative flights are being arranged.

BA said an investigation was under way and that it was "giving our assistance to the independent South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA)".

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