BA assisting passengers after building hit

A British Airways 747’s wing hit an OR Tambo building. The incident has left around 180 passengers stranded.

The British Airways Boeing 747 wing after it hit into a building at OR Tambo International Airport on 22 December 2013. Picture: iWitness.

JOHANNESBURG - British Airways says it's arranged alternate flights for passengers who were on board a plane that hit a building at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg last night.

It says anyone who prefers not to use the London-based airline will be booked on other airlines.

The right wing of the Boeing 747 crashed into a building while the aircraft was taxiing down a runway.

Four ground staff in the building at the time sustained minor injuries, but none of the more than 180 on board was hurt.

The pilot apparently used an incorrect taxiway, one that was far too narrow for a plane as large as the jumbo jet.

One passenger says it was easy to see the taxiway was too narrow.

"He was still on the tarmac - the wheels were just on the tarmac - but literally, on either side of the wheels was grass."

The incident left the London-bound passengers stranded, with some saying they still don't know what's going on.

But British Airways says it has sufficient space on its flights departing from Johannesburg today for all of the passengers.

It says most passengers were bussed to hotels late last night and are being taken care of today.

But one passenger says there's been very little correspondence about the crash.

"No communications, there's a total lack of it. They haven't told us what's going on."

Two men also told Eyewitness News that the crew on board the plane seemed panicked and confused after the incident.

They said they also couldn't hear what the crew was announcing over the "very old" aircraft's PA system.

The airline says it will be cooperating with an independent investigation by the SA Civil Aviation Authority and it's also launched its own probe.