DEN05IA046
DEN05IA046

On January 3, 2005, at 1934 mountain standard time, a Beech 1900D, N202UX, operated by Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd, as Lakes Air Flight 5039, sustained minor damage when it was struck by a tug while parked at gate A52, Denver International Airport (DEN), Denver, Colorado. Night visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the incident. The airline transport certificated captain, and first officer and 13 passengers on board were not injured. The tug operator received minor injuries. The scheduled domestic passenger flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 121 on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. The flight to McCook, Nebraska, was preparing for departure.

According to witnesses, the tug was parked behind the left wing of the airplane, facing in the opposite direction, with its engine running. The airplane's engines were not running. When the tug operator "jumped" onto the tug, he lost his footing and slipped. As he grabbed for something to catch his balance, his right arm hit the tug's gearshift lever. As the tug started moving forward in a right turn, the tug operator's left foot became caught between the tug's frame and left rear tire. The tug circled around the left wing tip of the airplane and it struck the left engine nacelle. The tug operator's foot became wedged between the tug and the airplane's stairs, resulting in a sprained left ankle and a few minor lacerations. The airplane sustained minor damage to the left engine nacelle and one propeller blade.

According to the FAA, the tug operator's training records did not reflect the tug operator's qualifications to operate ground equipment, including the gas powered Kubota tug involved in this incident.

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