NTSB Identification: CHI03IA055.
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Scheduled 14 CFR operation of AMERICAN TRANS AIR INC
Incident occurred Thursday, January 16, 2003 in Indianapolis, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/28/2004
Aircraft: Boeing 737-83N, registration: N303TZ
Injuries: 79 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 airplane sustained minor damage when it struck a deicing truck as it was being towed back to the gate. No injuries occurred. The operator reported, "The de-ice truck had re-positioned itself off of the left wing and forward, waiting to de-ice another aircraft. The left wing walker left his post upon request of the tug driver to scrape the snow off the lead in line with his boot. The aircraft impacted the de-ice truck, dragging it approximately 15 feet. The truck went up on two wheels and was pinned at a 45-degree angle. The tow was stopped and appropriate calls made." Visibility was 1 and 1/2 statute mile and present weather was light snow and mist. The operator's procedures current at the time of the accident stated, "3. The tow tug operator will: a. Ascertain exactly where the aircraft is to be towed and positioned, and know (or view) the precise route to be taken. ... d. Undertake or continue a towing/pushing procedure only when visual contact with all necessary guidemen is possible. Obstructed vision is the 'signal' to stop and re-establish the necessary guidemen contacts."

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

The ground tow personnel not maintaining clearance from the de-icing vehicle during the tow back to the gate. Factors were the de-icing vehicle that parked by the airplane's left wing, the ground personnel not following the operator's towing procedures/directives.

Full narrative available

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