A KLM Boeing 777-300 unexpectedly encountered several balloons while landing at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, leading to the temporary closure of the runway.
Flight KL791 arrived in Brazil from Amsterdam on Monday evening after a journey of approximately eleven hours and twenty minutes. Upon landing, the pilot of the Boeing 777-300ER, registered PH-BVW, reported to the air traffic control tower that the plane had struck several balloons at an altitude of 500 feet. A video of the conversation between the pilot and the air traffic controller was published on the Brazilian website Aeroin, in which the KLM pilot said: “We flew over at least three balloons, and one of them definitely hit our engine right. »
The nature of these balloons remains unclear. In response to the incident, the Brazilian airport temporarily closed the runway for inspection. Remarkably, PH-BVW was operational again for the return flight to Amsterdam a few hours after the incident. KLM operates daily flights from Schiphol Airport to Sao Paulo using the Boeing 777-300ER.
In a memo sent to Aeroin by KLM, it was reported that “during approach to São Paulo, at only about 500 feet, our crew observed two balloons to the left of the aircraft and one to the right. Both engines were inspected. No evidence of balloons or other damage was noted. »