March 20, 2023 | Susan Napier-Sewell

Multiple Warnings Didn’t Save a Ground Crew Worker


Montgomery, AL, was the site of a December 31, 2022, horrific airline facility accident in which a ground crew worker was killed.

A CBS News article described what happened to the ground crew worker, “The National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB] said in a statement that a member of ground support personnel was ‘ingested into the engine’ of an aircraft while it was parked at the gate with the parking brake set.”*

The CBS News article also informs us that, “Montgomery Regional Airport said in a statement that an American Airlines/Piedmont Airlines employee died in an ‘industrial accident’ around 3 p.m..”* An NTSB investigation is now underway.

We learn from an article** published on January 23, 2023, by the Associated Press (AP) and broadcast by MYNBC that, “‘A coworker who saw an Alabama airport employee nearly knocked over by exhaust from a jet tried to warn her to stay back, but moments later the employee walked in front of one of the engines and was pulled in, killing her on Dec. 31,’ federal investigators said Monday.”**

The AP article informs us that “Another ground worker on the other side of the plane had backed away after a pilot leaned out the window and said the engines were still running.

“‘Throughout the incident, rotating beacons on the plane appeared to be illuminated, warning that engines were still running,’ investigators said.

“The National Transportation Safety Board provided new details about the fatal accident involving an American Eagle jet in a preliminary report that relied on video surveillance and witness accounts. The board did not state a probable cause for the incident — that step usually follows an investigation that can take a year or longer.

“The flight from Dallas to Montgomery Regional Airport with 63 passengers and crew was operated by Envoy Air, an affiliate of American Airlines.

“An auxiliary power unit used to power the plane without using the engines was not working, according to the safety board, and pilots decided to leave both engines running for a two-minute engine cool-down period while they waited to for the plane to be connected to ground power.

“The NTSB said the ground crew huddled shortly before the Embraer jet arrived at the gate to note that engines would remain running until the plane was connected to ground power, and the plane shouldn’t be approached until the engines were shut down and pilots turned off the beacon light.

“The board also noted that an American Eagle manual revised in July warns workers never to come within 15 feet of the front of an engine — an area called the ‘ingestion zone’ — until the engine’s blades stop spinning.”

*Content source/credit: CBS News, “Ground crew worker killed after being “ingested” into plane engine at Montgomery, Alabama, airport,” January 3, 2023.

**Content source/credit: Associated Press (AP) via /MYNBC News (15 NBC), “New details provided in deadly accident involving Alabama airport ground worker,” January 23, 2023.

Content credit: Thank you to Alex Paradies, Director of Projects and Innovation, System Improvements Inc., for sending the news about this incident.

Image source/credit: Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay.

TapRooT®’s experts in incident facilitation, root cause analysis, and corrective actions can help your organization solve critical internal and external problems.

When your company is in a situation that requires outside help, TapRooT®’s Root Cause Analysis experts can partner with your employees to identify and solve problems.

TapRoot® is global—and local—to meet your needs. If you would like us to teach a course at your workplace, please reach out here to discuss what we can do for you, or call us at 865.539.2139. Need other times or locations that you don’t see on today’s list? Please see our full selection of courses.

Current Events, Investigations
Show Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *