NTSB Identification: LAX96LA222A
Scheduled 14 CFR operation of UNITED AIRLINES, INC.
Accident occurred Thursday, June 06, 1996 in SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/1997
Aircraft: Boeing 737-322, registration: N371UA
Injuries: 220 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

At night, a tail-to-tail ground collision occurred in an alleyway between an outbound United Boeing 737, N371UA, and an outbound American Boeing 767, N335AA. At the time, the B-737 was under tug control while being pushed back without the aid of wing walkers from gate number 77. The United B-767 was beginning to taxi from the same alleyway following its earlier uneventful pushback with the aid of wing walkers from gate number 63. According to the B-737's tug driver, during pushback she had observed a nearby food service truck and had initially slowed her speed to ensure its passage. Thereafter, she continued pushing the B-737 toward the designed alleyway location. Suddenly, an impact occurred and the tug driver for the first time observed an American B-767 was already located in the alleyway. United management reported that during pushback operations it was the tug driver's responsibility to ensure that adequate clearance existed. Nine months earlier United management was aware that aircraft utilizing its gate number 77 did not have the minimum 25-foot aircraft wing tip clearance as required by the City of San Francisco. City personnel agreed to allow United gate usage provided United 'guarantee the use of wing walkers.'

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

inadequate visual lookout by the United Airlines tug driver during the pushback operation. Contributing factors were: the driver's reduced ability to observe the American B-767 due to the nighttime condition, and United Airlines management's failure to ensure that safety procedures were followed.

Full narrative available

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