NTSB Identification: WPR10FA199
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO
Accident occurred Friday, April 09, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/2013
Aircraft: BOEING 737-3H4, registration: N624SW
Injuries: 109 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While the airplane was being pushed back for its flight, it was struck by a runaway baggage tug. The tug operator reported that he stopped on the ramp to pick up two bags. He exited the tug without setting its parking brake, turning off its engine, or placing the gear selector in neutral or park, which was not in accordance with the tug company’s ground equipment general driving rules. The tug operator then placed the first bag on the passenger seat, which company procedures caution against doing. While the tug operator was handling the second bag, the unoccupied tug began to move because the first bag had fallen off the passenger seat onto the accelerator pedal. The tug moved forward, struck a hydrant fueling cart on the ramp, and then veered toward the left side of the airplane. The tug impacted both of the airplane’s engines and its fuselage. If the tug operator had followed company driving rules, the accident could have been prevented. In addition, postaccident examination of the tug revealed that the electrical motor disengaging seat switch, which is designed to disengage the tug's electrical motor when weight is removed from the driver's seat, was inoperative; therefore, it did not prevent the tug from moving forward as designed.

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

The tug operator’s failure to comply with company procedures when parking an unoccupied baggage tug, and the failure of the tug’s seat switch to disengage the electric motor when weight was removed from the driver’s seat.

Full narrative available

Index for Apr2010 | Index of months