NTSB Identification: NYC07LA121
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier NORTHWEST AIRLINES INC
Accident occurred Friday, May 18, 2007 in Syracuse, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2008
Aircraft: DOUGLAS DC-9-31, registration: N1799U
Injuries: 99 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.

While at its departure airport, a Douglas DC-9-31’s baggage was loaded by contract ramp personnel. After departure, the airplane was climbing through approximately 20,000 feet mean sea level (msl), when the flight crew heard a "loud pop" and the cabin depressurized. The flight crew donned their oxygen masks and diverted to the closest airport in point of time, and landed uneventfully. Postflight inspection of the accident airplane revealed a 12-inch by 5-inch fuselage skin tear, approximately 6 feet forward of the forward cargo door. During the course of the investigation it was revealed that at some point during the aircraft luggage off-loading or loading process, the engine of the belt loader quit operating. The senior of three ground agents working the flight decided to move the belt loader away from the airplane by pushing the belt loader with a luggage tug; however, during the attempt to move the belt loader, the tug’s cab contacted the fuselage. The senior ground agent then advised “don’t say anything” to one of the other employees who was working the flight with him, and the airplane departed and later depressurized. The senior ground agent’s actions were contrary to published guidance in the company’s training handbook and operation manual.

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

The senior ground agent's failure to follow written procedures and directives.

Full narrative available

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