On July 10, 2007, at 1630 central daylight time, a mechanic fell onto the ramp from the main cabin entrance door of a Boeing 737-232 airplane, N332DL, while attempting to close the door during a thunderstorm. The crew of six, including the mechanic and 110 passengers were on board. The mechanic sustained fatal injuries. No other crewmembers or passengers were injured and the airplane was not damaged. The charter flight was being operated by Sky King, Inc., as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 supplemental domestic flight and was preparing for departure at the Tunica Air Center (KUTA) near Tunica, Mississippi, for an on-demand air taxi flight to Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a scheduled intermediate stop in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The operator reported that the flight had finished boarding all passengers and the portable airstairs had been pushed back; however, the engines were not running. The mechanic was directed to secure the cabin door to prevent additional rain from soaking the main entrance and galley area as an approaching storm created gusty winds and heavy rains.
Passengers seated on row 1 of the main cabin witnessed the mishap. The passengers reported that soon after boarding the airplane a "furious hard blowing rain had started." The forward cabin flight attendant attempted to close the cabin door then moved back to allow the mechanic to close it. The witness added that "suddenly his hand slipped from the door handle, his feet slipped from under him, and he fell out the doorway" onto the ramp.
Weather reported at KUTA 10 minutes prior to the accident was winds from 180 degrees at 11 knots, visibility of 10 statute miles. Thunderstorm activity with lightning reported in all quadrants, scattered clouds at 3,800 feet, broken clouds at 5,000 and 6,500 feet, temperature of 30 degrees Celsius and a dew point of 22 degrees Celsius, with an altimeter setting of 29.87 inches of Mercury. At 30 minutes after the accident the weather was reported as winds from 290 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 2 1/2 statue miles, heavy thunderstorms and rain with broken cloud layers at 500 feet and 1,300 feet, overcast skies at 3,200 feet, with lightning in all quadrants, with an altimeter setting of 29.90 inches of Mercury.
Post-Accident Airline Safety Efforts.
Following the accident, Sky King, Inc. developed the following safety enhancements:
- The Airline created and published a safety bulletin emphasizing the requirement to have the portable airstairs or Jet-Bridge remain in place until the main cabin door has been secured.
- Flight attendant and flight operations manuals were revised as follows: CAUTION: The Main Cabin door (L1) must remain open with the jetway or stairs in place until push-back for normal and emergency egress for passengers and crew.
- Emphasis for all crew members during in initial training and recurrent training concerning portable airstairs procedures.