U2 lead singer Bono had a near-death experience last night when the door of his private jet was completely torn off in flight. The accident occurred during a two-hour trip from Dublin to Berlin, en route to the Bambi International Music Awards.
Bono and four of his friends were flying to the awards show by way of a Learjet 60 D-CGEO. Fellow U2 members Larry Mullen, the Edge, and Adam Clayton, were travelling separately, as Bono had flown out early for a diplomatic event with Gerd Mueller, the German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development.
About an hour into the flight, the passengers were startled to hear a loud thud coming from the back of the plane. They were concerned for a bit but continued on, descending for landing at Berlin’s Schoenefeld Airport. When they touched down, they were horrified to find that the compartment at the rear of the aircraft was totally disconnected. The tailgate reportedly detached at about 8,000 feet, right as they reached the German coast.
The entire door and all of their luggage had fallen out midair. No injuries were reported. At this time, they are not sure if the contents landed over water or land. “They were at an altitude where anything could have happened and they are all feeling very lucky to be alive,” said a source close to the artist.
Airport authorities have confirmed that the jet landed with a damaged tailgate. “It is up to the police to make an investigation and to check exactly what has happened,” stated Ralf Kunkel, Head of Press at Berlin Airport Authority. Kunkel said there were subsequent reports that a piece of aircraft had landed in Brandenburg, near the German capital.
According to Germout Freitag, an official with the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation, it could take authorities a year to complete their final report. “The Learjet lost a door where the luggage was put in,” said Freitag. “There can be many reasons for this incident. Either something broke on the door or the door wasn’t closed properly. Those are the usual problems that occur.”
Aviation expert John Nance said this type of accident is rare, but not particularly hazardous. “What happened here is very unusual, but they were never really at risk,” said Nance. “The passengers may have been scared when they heard a noise, but they never lost pressurization.”
Bono and his band are still scheduled to perform for the Bambi Awards tonight. Upon his safe arrival in Germany, he visited Walter Lindner, the country’s special representative for the fight against Ebola. The musician, who his also known for his activist work, met with Lindner to discuss the eradication of the deadly virus.