The British Airways flight was departing from Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport enroute to London’s Heathrow Airport when the right wing of the aircraft struck an airport building injuring four British Airways employees. All 182 passengers were uninjured.
The Boeing 747 was taxing down the runway and made the wrong turn, turning down a much narrower runway than could be supported of an aircraft of its size.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority states the pilots were given instructions to take off from a different, wider runway.
The air traffic control tower "told them to take one taxi-way and they took another one. They took a wrong one," said Phindiwe Gwebu, spokeswoman for the South African Civil Aviation Authority.
"What they did was they went almost straight onto taxiway M, and that taxiway is quite narrow," said Ms Gwebu.
Ms. Gwebu stated that the plane’s wing struck the top of a two-story building.
The incident is under investigation by the South African Civil Aviation Authority and British Airways.
"Investigators still need to talk to the pilot," Ms. Gwebu said.
"We are waiting the result of the local aviation authority before commenting on the cause of the incident," said Philip Allport, a spokesman for British Airways. "The plane was piloted by two captains and a first officer so they were all very experienced."
Passengers were given overnight accommodations and rescheduled on other flight.