NTSB Identification: LAX99LA212
On June 9, 1999, about 0245 hours coordinated universal time, a Boeing 747-422, N198UA, operating as United Airlines Flight 890, experienced a serious cabin attendant injury while en route from Singapore to Narita, Japan. The flight over international waters had departed Singapore at 2341 on June 8, 1999, destined for Narita. The flight was operated by United Airlines, Inc., of Chicago, Illinois, as a scheduled international passenger flight under 14 CFR Part 121 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Neither the airline transport pilot captain and first officer, the remaining 17 cabin attendants or 306 passengers were injured.
At 0245, the captain contacted dispatch and reported a diversion to Hong Kong due to an accident in the galley involving a flight attendant. According to a United Airlines report, the flight attendant was injured in the main deck galley while using the lift to move carts to the upper deck.
The flight attendant was in the process of placing a cart in the lift when it began to move, having been called from the upper deck. The upward movement of the lift caused the cart to roll out of the lift, striking and pinning the flight attendant against the galley wall. The lift continued to raise, catching the edge of the cart, and lifting it off the floor, trapping the flight attendant between the other end of the cart and the galley counter opposite the lift. As the cart was raised off the floor, the flight attendant was lifted off her feet and her body was pushed on top of the galley counter. The cart continued to rise, pinning the flight attendant's face between the cart and the bins above the galley counter.
An inspection of the galley lift at Hong Kong revealed a piece of cardboard had been inserted into the interlock safety switch, disabling it, and by doing so, the galley lift can be operated without closing the galley lift door.
As a result of other similar upper deck cart accidents/incidents Boeing has issued a Service Bulletin 747-25-3187 to modify the control panel to allow only the person working on the cart lift to send it.