NTSB Identification: SEA97IA040.
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Incident occurred Friday, December 20, 1996 in SEATTLE, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-80, registration: N941AS
Injuries: 144 Uninjured.

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

The aircraft was taxiing into a gate area in close proximity to another parked aircraft, a fuel truck, a building, and a jetway. The end of the truck was overhanging into a designated safety zone. The left wing walker who was assisting in guiding the airplane into the ramp was standing in a position which allowed his view of the left wing tip to be obstructed by the fuel truck. The wing walker stated that he gave the emergency stop signal to the lead marshaler when he noticed that the left wing tip light disappeared behind the fuel truck. The lead marshaler immediately gave the stop signal to the pilot, but the airplane continued to roll during the pilot's reaction and braking. The left wing leading edge slat impacted the rear of the fuel truck and slat's skin was dented. Rain and dark night conditions prevailed at the time. The fuel truck had been struck in another incident by the same aircraft type while parked at the same gate. The gate's ramp was congested, and was marked by painted lines that were faded and difficult to discern under artificially-lighted, wet conditions at night.

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

The failure of the left wing walker to verify the clearance between the left wing and the fuel truck during taxi, and his delay in signaling the lead marshaller to alert the pilot to stop the aircraft prior to impact. Factors contributing to the incident include congested ramp facilities, inadequate ramp markings, rain, and dark night conditions.

Full narrative available

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