Sydney, Feb 27 (AFP) A clipboard left behind during pre-flight checks was sucked into the jet engine of an international passenger plane, Australian safety regulators said today. Also Read - Lockdown in New Zealand's Largest City After First Local COVID-19 Case in 102 Days

Ground staff put the bundle of paperwork on the engine cowling after loading luggage — but seemingly forgot to pick it up again. Also Read - New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Visits Radha Krishna Temple in Auckland, Relishes 'Chhole-Puri' | Watch

A worker conducting final safety checks spotted the misplaced documents, but assumed they would be retrieved before take-off. Also Read - Victory! New Zealand Discharges its Last Coronavirus Patient From the Hospital, Twitter Says 'Well Done'

When the engines were started, they swallowed the clipboard, spraying bits of paper all over the tarmac as the aircraft began taxiing into position.

However, no-one told the flight crew until the Sydney-bound plane was in the air, forcing the pilot to return to Auckland.

“The engine was inspected by engineers and paper was found throughout the engine. They also found… a piece of sheared metal,” the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said in a report.

Qantas-owned Jetstar, which was operating the October 27 flight last year, has since updated its procedures to include warnings about not placing items in the engine cowling, the ATSB said.

“This incident demonstrates the effect foreign object debris has on aircraft operations,” the ATSB said, adding that debris “poses a significant threat to aircraft safety”.

“It has the potential to cause aircraft damage during critical phases of flight, costing airlines and airports millions of dollars each year.” (AFP) SMJ SMJ

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.