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Qantas Yam Dreaming 787 Dreamliner damaged by tornado

written by Hannah Dowling | October 26, 2021

Qantas Boeing 787-9 VH-ZND arriving at Alice Springs. (Victor Pody)
Qantas Boeing 787-9 VH-ZND arriving at Alice Springs. (Victor Pody)

A Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner suffered suspected damage after an unexpected tornado tore through Brisbane Airport on Friday afternoon.

Video footage of the aircraft, registration VH-ZND, shows the strong winds dramatically tugging and pushing the 128-tonne plane, as it stood at the gate.

The three-year-old Dreamliner, boasting the iconic Yam Dreaming livery, had landed at Brisbane 6:30am on Friday morning after completing flight QF16 from Los Angeles.

The footage suggests the jet could have sustained some damage to its fuselage, due to being struck by ground services equipment that had been abandoned by the aircraft when people ran for shelter.

However, damage was not sufficient enough to keep the plane grounded, as, at the time of writing, the aircraft is currently being ferried from Brisbane to Melbourne Tullamarine.


VH-ZND took off from Brisbane just before 3pm local time as QF6142 and is due to touch down in Melbourne just before 6pm.

No passengers were onboard the aircraft at the time of the incident and no injuries were reported. Qantas has been contacted for comment.

VH-ZND is named Emily Kame Kngwarreye, after the original artist of the 1991 painting Yam Dreaming, which this aircraft’s livery is based on. The painting was adapted for the aircraft by leading Indigenous-owned design studio Balarinji.


The tornado itself lasted a number of minutes, and caused damage to multiple sections of the airport, including one section of its roof, causing torrential rain to pour inside the airport.

According to reports, sheets of metal were blown across taxiways and the apron, while airport trailers were flipped and even trees uprooted.

The airport’s hangars were also said to have sustained damage.

Rachel Bronish from Brisbane Airport said the team were working speedily to execute repairs.

“The team will continue working throughout the evening and throughout the night to make sure those repairs happen,” she said.

Last month, VH-ZND successfully delivered over 450,000 additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the UK to Australia, just days after Prime Minister Scott Morrison struck a new deal to add four million doses to Australia’s supply.

The Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner touched down in Sydney as flight QF10 just after 6pm on Sunday 5 September, carrying 164,970 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Boasting its iconic Indigenous Yam Dreaming livery, VH-ZND departed London on Saturday morning, flew 17 hours to Perth, and took off for its final leg to Sydney just after midday on Sunday.

The second delivery flight, QF110, arrived at Sydney Kingsford Smith around three hours later, after 9pm, with 292,500 doses in tow.

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