NTSB Identification: ANC04IA058.
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Scheduled 14 CFR Northwest Airlines Inc.
Incident occurred Monday, May 31, 2004 in Anchorage, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/28/2005
Aircraft: Boeing 757-251, registration: N550NW
Injuries: 1 Minor,187 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.

After a Boeing 757-251 airplane arrived at a terminal gate and was parked, a flight attendant went to door 2L of the aircraft. The customer service agent (CSA) positioned outside the airplane on the jetway knocked on the door. This is the signal to the flight attendant that the door will be opened, if the flight attendant provides a visible "thumbs-up" signal to the agent on the jetway. The flight attendant reported that in response to the knock, she gave a thumbs-up, and stepped away from the door. The door did not open, but she heard a second knock. The flight attendant gave a second thumbs-up through the cabin door window. As she was giving the signal, the door handle came down on her wrist. The CSA reported that after his first knock, he did not receive a thumbs-up, and knocked a second time. The flight attendant inside the airplane then gave a thumbs-up signal. The CSA then opened the airplane door from the outside. During the door opening procedure, the inside handle of the door struck the flight attendant on the forearm. The flight attendant was taken to a local hospital where she was initially diagnosed with a fractured wrist. On June 23, 2004, the operator informed the NTSB Investigator-In-Charge that the injured flight attendant had a follow-up examination with her own physician in Minnesota. The physician took additional x-rays of the injured wrist and determined that it was not broken, but had sustained a sprain. The flight attendant continued to have pain, and had a magnetic resonance image (MRI) of her wrist on July 2, 2004, which was normal. Airline personnel provided a copy of their cabin operating standards, which states, in part: "To prepare cabin door for opening; 1. CSA knocks on door and awaits "thumbs-up" signal from FA. 2. FA gives thumbs-up signal to CSA to indicate that door is disarmed and safe to open. 3. CSA opens cabin door after FA moves hands clear of door." Additional information provided by the airline indicated that the door opening procedure precludes a second thumbs-up signal unless the CSA knocks a second time.

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

The failure of the flight attendant to follow the appropriate door opening procedure by remaining clear of the door handle when the passenger door was opened from the outside by customer service personnel, which resulted in a wrist injury to the flight attendant when she was struck by the door handle.

Full narrative available

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