On September 29, 2000, at 1938 Eastern Daylight Time, a Saab 340B, N241AE, operating as American Eagle flight 4998, was substantially damaged when a baggage belt-loader collided with it, while it was parked, at General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport (BOS), Boston, Massachusetts. There were no injuries to the 3-person crew, the 23 passengers, or the operator of the belt-loader. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, between Montreal Dorval Airport (YUL), Montreal, Quebec, and Boston. The scheduled passenger flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 121.

According to a company debrief report, when the accident occurred, the airplane was chocked, the left engine was secured, and the right engine was running. The seat belt sign had been turned off, and the passengers were standing.

Witnesses reported that the belt-loader initially stopped about 10 feet from the airplane, then proceeded toward the cargo door area at a high rate of speed. The operator jumped from the loader, and the loader's vertical fin sliced through the underside of the airplane. The loader subsequently came to a stop when it impacted a lavatory cart on the other side of the airplane.

The operator of the belt-loader stated that when he initially lifted the belt, he saw that it was too far from the cargo door, and decided to move the loader closer. "I sit down and pulled the stick to forward...the belt loader did not move so I pushed the accelerator and when I knew the belt loader moved very fast, I tried to get off the seat, but it was too late...."

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that the loader's "dorsal fin" had cut through the fuselage for about 8 feet. Post-accident examination of the belt-loader revealed no mechanical discrepancies.

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