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10 injured aboard plane in ground test

Five people on board an Airbus 340-600 were injured Thursday during technical tests of the plane on the ground at a French airport, the company said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Ten people were injured Thursday when an Airbus 340-600 slammed into a wall during engine tests on the ground at a French airport, the planemaker and government officials said.

The four-engine plane — scheduled for delivery to Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways — had been undergoing engine tests outside Toulouse, the southwestern French city where the plane-making consortium is based.

Nine people on board — including seven Etihad employees — and a person on the ground were injured, three of them seriously, Airbus and government officials said.

Some 80 rescue workers rushed to the scene to carry out those injured to area hospitals.

Airbus Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier said that "for reasons still unknown," the plane hit a wall and was damaged so badly as to be "irrecoverable."

The incident took place during a final round of tests before anticipated delivery, in which its engines are powered up full-throttle as the brakes are applied, he said.

Jean-Louis Borloo, who heads a French government ministry on the environment, energy and transport, "immediately requested" a technical investigation into the causes of the accident, his office said.