On March 18, 2000, about 1910 eastern standard time, a Beech 1900, N199GA, and a tug and baggage cart collided while both were being operated on a ramp at Miami, Florida. The aircraft is registered to Raytheon Aircraft Receivables Corporation, and operated by Gulfstream International Airlines, as flight 9399, a Title 14 CFR Part 121 scheduled domestic passenger flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area at the time, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The airplane received minor damage, and the airline transport-rated pilot, first officer, and 19 passengers were not injured. The driver of the tug pulling the baggage cart was seriously injured. The flight originated from Nassau, Bahamas, the same day, about 1800. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The captain's and first officer's written statements showed that they were on their seventh leg of an eight-leg sequence, and had been on duty since 0600. They had been receiving marshalling instructions and the captain was taxiing the aircraft on the non-ground controlled ramp between concourses F and G, during heavy rain. According to both flight crewmembers, the ramp area was dark and the aircraft's taxi, navigation and tail floodlights were illuminated. The crew further stated that the windshield wipers had been operating also, due to the heavy rain at the time. They stated that they had just passed spot number 8, and were taxiing to the ramp area and could see company ramp personnel. The captain said that the yellow guideline into the ramp area was very difficult to see, but he was taxiing the aircraft within 10 feet of the line on either side. Both crewmembers said they never saw the baggage employee or his vehicle until after he struck the left wing, and neither the propeller nor the engine had been stopped until the captain shut down the engine during the normal shutdown sequence at the ramp. The captain said he saw the baggage handler, and motioned for him to move away, so they could continue taxiing to the ramp and remove the passengers. According to both crewmembers, it was not until the first officer opened the aircraft door that they both realized that the baggage vehicle had collided with their aircraft.
The Metro-Dade police report showed that the pilot had indicated that he had been taxiing the aircraft to the company's ramp, northbound in the taxi lane, when he felt that the left wing had been pushed hard and he observed that the aircraft's left propeller and wing, as well as the rear baggage carts were damaged. The police report also showed that the baggage cart had been equipped with no lights, only reflectors, and that the distance from the center of the yellow taxi line to the impact point where the debris lay was about 30 feet. The ramp control incident report showed that the debris was found in front of gate F14 to gate F10, 30 feet from the centerline, and 73 feet from the aircraft containment line.
The driver of the tug, a United Airlines employee, stated that he had been driving as close to the fuchsia (red) line as was possible, and he heard the buzzing sound of a propeller. He further stated that as soon as he heard it, he felt and heard a loud bang, and was pushed forward into a zig zagging motion when the collision occurred.
A company supervisor verified that at the time of the accident, the tug driver had been properly trained, and had in his possession, the proper documentation, permitting him to drive the tug and cart on the airport operations area.
The Gulfstream International Airlines ramp supervisor who was marshalling the accident aircraft to parking, witnessed the collision between the tug and the aircraft, and stated that he was standing 100 feet away from the site of the accident and the tug and cart was coming from the left side of the aircraft, trying to cross the taxiway from one side to the other, and the tug driver did not notice the aircraft taxiing in. According to the ramp supervisor, the tug driver tried to avoid hitting the aircraft by making a turn to the left, but he hit the airplane with the cart, causing damage to the airplane's left wing and propeller. The ramp supervisor said that the captain of the airplane stopped for a couple of seconds, then kept going to spot 5 where he himself (the ramp supervisor), had been guiding the aircraft.
Another witness stated that he was looking "across the ramp," and at the time it was raining moderately. He said he noticed the aircraft, as well as the tug, pulling the baggage cart, and both the aircraft and the tug with the baggage cart attached were going in the same direction. The witness further stated that he assumed that the aircraft would pass the tug and cart, but instead it ran into the back of the baggage cart. The witness said he could not tell how far the tug was into the alley from his position, but he felt sure that the tug was close enough to the building, to be out of harm's way. According to the witness, the aircraft could not have been on the yellow line, but was left of center.
One other witness stated that he heard the crash then looked and saw the tug and cart in close proximity to the aircraft. He further stated that at the time he noted that the aircraft did not have its taxi light on.