Calgary-based WestJet has confirmed that a WestJet Boeing 737-800 waiting to park at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) was struck by an unoccupied Sunwing Airlines 737-800 being towed back from a gate at Terminal 3 at 6:19 pm EST on Jan. 5.
The impact sparked a small fire on the Sunwing aircraft, to which airport emergency crews responded immediately. Because of the position of the aircraft on the tarmac, passengers on the WestJet aircraft were forced to evacuate via emergency slides. Sunwing is a leisure carrier based in Toronto.
No injuries to the 168 passengers and six crew of the WestJet flight were reported, although a responding member of the Toronto Pearson Fire and Emergency Service was treated at a local hospital. Flight 2425 had just arrived at Toronto from Cancun, Mexico.
Within 20 minutes of the incident, WestJet confirmed via Twitter that all passengers were safely in the terminal and were clearing customs. About five hours after the incident, WestJet tweeted on its customer service Twitter thread that that the emergency response, coupled with extreme cold, had created “a lot of congestion for all airlines in Toronto … some of our pilots and crew, out of necessity and safety had to end their duty day as they had reached maximum allowable hours.”
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) deployed a team of investigators to the airport to investigate the collision the evening of Jan 5. TSB said it is gathering information about the event for assessment and will provide further details as the investigation proceeds.
The incident came just over a year after a similar incident at YYZ’s Terminal 3 in which a parked Air France 777-200’s wing was clipped by a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft maneuvering to reach its own parking stand.