Body panel fell off KLM flight due to short screws: Japanese authority

KLM Boeing 777 missing panel after Japan flight
Fuselage panel missing from KLM flight 868, a Boeing 777 that departed Osaka for Amsterdam on 23 Sept. 2017.. Photo: Japan Transportation Safety Board

A fractured securing bracket and several inadequate bolts and screws caused a fuselage panel to fly off a KLM aircraft shortly after takeoff, the Japanese Transportation Safety Board said on Friday. While climbing over Osaka, an upper fuselage panel fell off the plane striking a vehicle on the ground. There were no injuries in the incident.

The accident took place on Sept. 23 not long after KLM flight 868 departed Osaka Kansai airport in Japan at 10:26 a.m. The 14-year-old Boeing 777 safely landed in Amsterdam the same day at 3:01 p.m. local time.

Investigators in Japan determined that after the bracket became fractured, multiple sets of bolts and screws failed to keep the panel secured to the aircraft. About eight screws were too short by 2mm, and the other 30 were unable to firmly hold the panel in place above and behind the right wing. The authority suggests the added stress on the panel caused it to dislodge from the aircraft.

The investigatory body has provided their evidence to the relevant prosecutors in Japan.

KLM Boeing 777 missing panel after Japan flight
Fuselage panel missing from KLM flight 868, a Boeing 777 that departed Osaka for Amsterdam on 23 Sept. 2017.. Photo: Japan Transportation Safety Board

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