On November 3, 1998, about 1545 eastern standard time, a McDonnell Douglas MD-88, N919DL, operated by Delta Airlines as Flight 1889, sustained minor damage when it was struck by a company baggage loader while parked at a terminal gate at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), Covington, Kentucky. The 5 crewmembers and the 107 passengers who were deplaning at the time of the impact were not injured. The driver of the baggage loader was seriously injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed Grand Rapids, Michigan, destined for CVG. The scheduled passenger flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 121.

According to representatives from Delta Airlines, after the airplane was chalked at terminal gate B-23, and ground power was applied to the airplane, the ground crew initiated the "off loading" process. The ground crewmember who was injured was operating a belt loader. He stopped about 10 to 12 feet from the airplane to raise the belt loader's conveyor belt and then proceeded towards the airplane. As the belt loader approached the "C1" door, it began to slow down. The belt loader then accelerated forward, struck the airplane and pinned the driver between the seat back of the belt loader and the airplane's fuselage.

In a telephone interview, the driver of the belt loader stated his foot slipped off the brake onto the accelerator, as he approached the airplane. The belt loader accelerated towards the airplane and he thought he might have "froze" for a second or two before the impact. He had no further memory of the accident; however, he stated that he had worked as a ramp agent for the past 13 years, and had operated a belt loader several times before the accident. He also remembered light rain was falling at the time of the accident.

Examination of the belt loader by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector did not revealed any mechanical malfunctions. Two antennas were damaged on the airplane.

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