IRON MAIDEN's branded private tour plane was badly damaged in a runway accident at a Chile airport Saturday morning (March 12).
The band, which is in the middle of the South American leg of its world tour, revealed that none of its members and equipment were on board at the time, and later said it was in the process of making contingency plans to get to their show in Cordoba, Argentina, with band, crew and equipment intact.
The incident occurred when Ed Force One was tethered to a tow truck at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport just outside Santiago, to be taken for refueling prior to flying over the Andes to Cordoba. On moving, the steering pin that is part of the mechanism that connects the ground tug to the aircraft seemingly fell out. As a result, the aircraft had no steering and collided with the ground tug, badly damaging the undercarriage, two of the plane's engines and injuring two ground tug operators, both of whom have been taken to hospital.
The band, which performed at Santiago's Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos Friday night (March 11), said in a statement: "The flight engineers are on site and evaluating the damage, but their initial report is that the engines have suffered large damage and will require an extended period of maintenance and possibly two new engines.
"We are currently making contingency arrangements to get to the show in Cordoba tomorrow with band, crew and equipment intact. Fortunately the 20 tons of equipment had not been loaded onto Ed Force One at the time of the accident.
"Although this is tragic for our beautiful plane, we do not expect this to affect our concert schedule including the next two shows in Cordoba and Buenos Aires. And we hope to find a new Ed Force One to continue this adventure with us in the near future.
"To finish on a high note, however, our visit to Chile was a huge success with 58,000 fans coming to the show as totally brilliant as ever in the Stadium Nacional last night. We love you guys!"
A couple of photos of the damage can be seen below.
An investigation into the incident has been launched by Chile's Departamento Prevención de Accidentes.
The Boeing 747 jumbo is named Ed Force One after the band's mascot, Eddie, who has appeared on all of their album covers, and graces the plane's tail.
Ed Force One is being piloted on the band's world tour by MAIDEN frontman Bruce Dickinson.
IRON MAIDEN's world tour, in support of the band's latest album, "The Book Of Souls", kicked off on February 24 in Sunrise, Florida (a suburb of Fort Lauderdale).
Support on the trek is coming from THE RAVEN AGE, the band led by IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris's son George Harris.
MAIDEN's sixteenth — and first-ever double — studio album, "The Book Of Souls", was released worldwide on September 4, 2015 through Parlophone Records (BMG in the U.S.A). The CD was recorded in Paris, France with producer Kevin "Caveman" Shirley in late 2014, with the finishing touches added last year.
IRON MAIDEN announced in May 2015 that touring plans to support the album wouldn't happen until this year to allow Dickinson time to fully recuperate after his successful cancer treatment.