Dubai: Ten people were injured when an Airbus A340-600 aircraft set for delivery to Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways ploughed into a wall during ground testing at Airbus' Toulouse headquarters in southern France on Thursday.
Etihad confirmed that a number of people, none of whom worked for the airline, were taken to hospital following the incident at approximately 5.15pm local time (8.15pm UAE). Airbus said nine people on board were injured in the incident, along with one person on the ground.
A source told Gulf News that several employees at Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies, a company contracted by Etihad to carry out engineering checks on its aircraft, were among those injured. All of those involved are said to have "non life-threatening" injuries.
Etihad chief executive James Hogan said: "We send those involved our very best wishes for a speedy recovery. Their welfare is our primary concern and our thoughts are very much with them, their family, friends and co-workers."
The aircraft, which was going through final engine tests before delivery to Etihad Airways' Abu Dhabi base on November 21, sustained "significant" airframe damage, Etihad said in a statement. The plane would have been used on long-haul flights to destinations including New York and Sydney.
An Airbus spokesman said the plane was immobilised while it applied all of its power to its engines, but became mobile "for an unknown reason" and slammed into an anti-noise barrier.
Etihad said it will continue to liaise closely with Airbus in order to keep fully informed of the latest developments following the incident. Representatives from the airline, including the Etihad Airways' Paris based country manager for France, are at the Airbus headquarters.
French authorities are investigating the causes of the incident.