Jet Clips Other Plane in Holding Area

The right wingtip of a jetliner clipped the tail of another plane while both were waiting out a thunderstorm Wednesday afternoon in a holding area at O'Hare International Airport, Federal Aviation and airline officials said.

The incident occurred at 3:50 p.m. as a United Airlines B777, a wide-body jet, was taxiing past an American Airlines MD-80 while both were in a holding area awaiting clearance for takeoff, the FAA said. No passenger injuries were reported, airline spokesmen said.

The FAA was investigating and the National Transportation Safety Board also was notified, officials said.

In the holding area, pilots of the aircraft are responsible for maintaining their own separation from other planes, FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said.

United Flight 149 was awaiting departure to San Francisco with 347 passengers and American Flight 1817, with 136 passengers, was bound for Seattle, the spokesmen said.

The airlines were working Wednesday evening to take passengers to their destinations on other flights.

Both planes were taken out of service. American spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said the United airliner took "a chunk" out of the MD-80's rudder.

Damage to the B777 was unclear, United spokesman Jeff Kovick said.



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