Irish band U2’s frontman Bono had near-catastrophic mid-air scare while aboard a Learjet 60 flying from Dublin, Ireland to Germany to accept an award from Bambi International Music Awards.
Bono was with four other friends traveling to Berlin when the rear hatch of their private aircraft detached and fell off while cruising at 15,000 feet over Germany skies on Wednesday. Two more of his companion’s luggage were also missing and must have fallen along with the tailgate.
The Irish rock icon was due to attend the awarding ceremony in Berlin on Thursday but had to fly ahead of schedule due to a prior diplomatic commitment to meet Germany’s economic cooperation and development minister, Gerd Mueller.
His other U2 bandmates Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen and The Edge were on a separate flight.
The plane’s two pilots didn’t realize they have a missing rear door until the plane has landed in Berlin’s Schoenefeld Airport at 12:26 pm; although they said they heard a loud thud at the rear about an hour after taking off from Dublin.
The crew were ‘startled a bit’, according to the Daily Mail, but dismissed the sound as it may have been caused by an air pocket and decided to continue flying.
After landing, they were horrified to see that the plane’s rear door was missing along with two luggages after the ground crew pointed out the discrepancy.
A source close to the Irish singer said the group was “extremely lucky” that nothing disastrous came out of the scary incident.
“He was extremely lucky, the plane could have gone down,” the source told The Daily Mail. “They were at an altitude where anything could have happened and they are all feeling very lucky to be alive.”
The door and the luggage have not yet been found and it was not known whether it landed on sea or on land.
German aviation authorities have launched an official investigation into the incident, but said the probe could take weeks as they have to find first the missing hatch.
Nevertheless, the plane landed safely and no one was hurt. There was no structural damage to the plane, investigators have said.
Bono quickly shook off the mid-air scare and even went on to attend the music awards as if nothing happened.
The Learjet’s baggage compartment is outside the pressurized passenger cabin and even when its door is opened there is no danger of crash or being sucked out, said aviation safety expert Paul Hayes.