A Cathay Pacific Airbus Incident In Hong Kong, Engine Failure...

Today's post is a lesson on how NOT to go about news-gathering.

Today I went to the airport to cover a reported Cathay Pacific 'incident'. An Airbus A330 en route from Surabaya, Indonesia, had made an emergency landing at Hong Kong International Airport, because of a single engine failure. Details were sketchy, but, like a plonker, I went along with a colleague from another wire agency to where many other media had gathered - the 'Sky Deck' on the roof of Terminal Two. The obvious choice. Although the aircraft emergency chutes were still out, which made for a good news photo, the problem with this location was that the cockpit of the plane was obscured by the Regal Airport Hotel.

Now, in the back of my mind, I knew that where I was standing not the best location to shoot from, because I had already covered the arrival of the Airbus A380 in Hong Kong a few years back. And I had covered it from a glass wall at the end of a corridor on a guest room floor in the airport hotel. Even though how to get to the exact same spot was a bit hazy in my mind, I should have trusted my instincts and gone straight to the airport hotel first.

This is because by the time I had schlepped it to the airport hotel, the chutes had already been removed. Yet like a zombie I had just followed the herd. Kicking myself, I realised that if I had just followed my gut instinct, I would probably have been the only photographer to get a clean shot of the whole plane, with its emergency chutes still present. (The photos on this post are displayed in chronological order.)

Today's lesson: always listen to your gut instinct, never follow the herd.

[For the record, the Cathay Pacific Airbus Flight CX780 from Surabaya in Indonesia suffered a single engine failure on it's final approach to the airport. It landed with no fatalities, although all four tyres on the left side of the plane, and two on the right side, deflated. Eight passengers were injured. And according to a high-ranking Cathay Pacific official, the flight crew have been detained by the police. It seems that this is the first major incident/accident for Cathay Pacific since 1972. Not good for the local airline's impeccable safety record...]

ALEX HOFFORD : HONG KONG CHINA PHOTOGRAPHER

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