View Full Version : Crew Member Injured

Direct VTB
3rd Aug 2004, 16:10
Last night when we arrived in CFU, and after the pax disembarked, I walked out of the a/c and saw a TCX 757 standing behind us...

A female crew member was laying on her back on the apron.... I went back in to the Flight Deck and could hear that the F/D requested for an ambulance because a "crew member was severely injured"..... I looked out of our a/c and within minutes the ambulance was there, and after about 15 minutes the ambulance took her away..

Now I don't want to make a scene. But it seemed like she was quit badly injured cos there wasn't much movement to be seen....
I'm just curious if anyone knows what happened and how she's doing.. Hope she's doing ok.......


3rd Aug 2004, 16:32
Jeez, i hope she is ok too - this happens way too often :ugh:

The 757 is high off the ground too, i'm guessing 4-5 metres.

I hope that she fell 'right' and i maybe guessing, but all too often it is because ground equipment pulls away without warning - or crewmembers step out onto the jetty to start pulling the heavy doors in.

Not good :(

Sleeve Wing
3rd Aug 2004, 17:04
Have they still not considered a folding metal bar across aircraft exits, instead of a cloth tape or banner, when doors are open but stairs or vehicles are not in place ?
These accidents are so unnecessary and happen far too often.
Sincerely hope she's OK - but, Christ, its a long way to fall.

Direct VTB
3rd Aug 2004, 17:34

Thanks for the information.... Hopefully she'll recover nicely.... and be back on line soon....

Yes we arrived 20 min. early and we left about 50 min late... Because of the ground handlers being maxed out as you already mentioned....

I myself found that as soon as you start rushing things, an accident is bound to happen.... Especially in this business. take your time, and don't let anyone rush you... especially not for comercial reasons...........


surely not
3rd Aug 2004, 20:11
I hope that the designers on the new A380 and 7E7 bear this sort of accident in mind when designing the door closing mechanism. It seems ridiculous to me that aircraft are still being built with a basic safety risk built in.

I wish the CC a speedy and full recovery.

3rd Aug 2004, 20:30
How are aircraft designers going to prevent "steps being driven away"? :confused:

Rwy in Sight
3rd Aug 2004, 20:34
Intresting we hold this conversation right now. I spoke with an Airbus guy at Farnborough and he pointed out that Airbus doors, because they don't swing around are safer than Boeing doors.

He also pointed out that the Ezy captain that got hurt in a similar maner in NCL was on a Boieng ac. So it seems Airbus doors are safer.

Anyway speedy discovery to the lady.

Rwy in Sight

dallas dude
4th Aug 2004, 00:45
Rwy in sight,

The AA flight attendant catapulted out of the AA A300 in MIA may have a beef with your statement-if he were still alive, that is!

ALL cabin doors are an accident waiting to happen if treated with anything less than the respect the perfect mousetrap deserves.

Sincerely hope the injured party fully recovers.


4th Aug 2004, 06:33
So why don t more aeroplanes use the counterweighted up and over power doors.

Oh yes that would be cost. Cheaper to pay for a few broken hosties than cart all that extra weight around.

4th Aug 2004, 07:42
manoffewwords, aircraft designers cannot stop speros driving away with his steps ! but i,m sure that they can offer a better solution to the current nylon tape that is fitted (fiddly) when they are removed, considering the weight of the doors on the 757,the angle the crew have to 'hang' out of the door to close it and the small lip at floor level, about 5mm (just enough to trip you up and out).

4th Aug 2004, 08:02
Ground staff rushing around at a busy holiday destination such as Corfu (Kerkyra) is clearly dangerous, but is the practice of connecting a push back tug to the aircraft whilst pax are boarding considered acceptable? It surprised me to see this happen when I was boarding a BEA 146 at LHR last year - there was a significant jolt as the tug coupled up which could have caused unwary pax to fall off the entrance steps had it been a slightly bigger jolt!

I hope that the crew member makes a speedy recovery with no permanent effects.

surely not
4th Aug 2004, 09:23
Manoffewwords my point was that if the doors were designed more effectively the CC wouldn't feel the need to stand on the ground steps in the first place, thereby negating the risk if the steps were driven away.

4th Aug 2004, 09:39
As one has said, a staggering happening in this day and age. I spoke to an SEP trainer of another airline and their normal procedure is to close doors AFTER steps have been removed. This might have prevented this accident, but then you have the scenario of a slightly built C/A trying to close a heavy difficult door balanced high above concrete firma. Considering all the trivial B.S. that Health & Safety throw at us on a daily basis, this seems a mighty oversight. Or could it be that itn is ignored because there is no 'quick fix'. Imagine what would be required for this operation in other jobs; at least a safety harness for the operator.
From memories the metal strip on the bottom door frame of Boeings, no doubt to protect against the millions of SLC's that will use the a/c, becomes a skating rink with the slightest drop of water. Certainly I've seen C/A's using it to brace their foot against when closing the doors, and nearly launching themselves overboard when it was damp.
I wonder what the insurance claim will look like, and by whom.

4th Aug 2004, 10:24
A very nasty accident indeed, and I wish her a speedy and full recovery.

It's only a matter of time before the next one. The girls/guys at Ryanair in particular are just asking for trouble as they have the doors open as soon as the a/c has come to a standstill and long before the steps are there. Fortunately it's not as far to fall from a 737 as a 757, but no comfort if you fall head first like the easyjet guy and have to kiss the career goodbye.

Be careful out there folks.

4th Aug 2004, 10:35
Hard to believe from the H&S standpoint really. Immediate safety measures occur to me, such as a bleeper similar to those "vehicle reversing" ones, giving an audible warning that the steps are about to move? Also, a safety harness is by no means a silly idea. It's ludicrous that everyday events like this are not risk assessed and dealt with.

4th Aug 2004, 10:45

Thanks for keeping a low profile, your a true team player.:} :ok:

Watch it.... outing is not on. Squid

Windy Militant
4th Aug 2004, 11:37
I rarely dip into these waters but here's my two n six pennorths. In my world Personal Protective Equipment and safety measures are a constant fact of life. I am amazed that with the type of gear that's readily available, which costs in airline terms peanuts, that this kind of thing is still going on. Fall restraint harnesses which are built into jackets and take as long to put on have been on the market for years now. As for steps, platforms etc a simple interlock system that cuts the ignition if the vehicle is moved without a bar or tape being closed at the working end would not cost that much to install.
But I guess life and limb still figure low with the blunties and bean counters.

I hope the CC involved makes a full recovery and the rest of you take care now.

4th Aug 2004, 11:57
witchdoctor - in fact the Ryanair crews probably have the least to worry about as they and their handling teams are very used to quick turnrounds. Isn't it their normal practice to use the a/c air stairs as the 'normal' entrance/exit? No-one is going to drive off with those!

I don't agree with most of what Mo'L says, but the 'bollockology' (as he puts it) associated with positioning of jet piers for disembarkation is often ridiculous. As is often the case at BHX where the time taken to position a jet pier (despite all the yellow coats, silly beeping noises and other H&S triv) is often quite ridiculous.

Any update on the poor lass at Corfu?

Sir Richard
4th Aug 2004, 12:59
The simple solution to stop this sort of accident:

Spiros closes the door then drives the steps away!

(Unless of course, union rules prevent such multitasking)

4th Aug 2004, 13:05
Daysleeper - you have probably hit the nail on the head. A modification or design change would have to bring proven financial justification or an overwhelming safety case (is there none greater than the subject of this topic, you may ask?).

Iron City
4th Aug 2004, 13:09
And if Spiros does the hatch and stairs how soon will there be a repeat of the Turkish DC-10 out of Paris where the cargo door was forced closed improperly and the cabin floor collapsed resuting in loss of aircraft.

Having Spiros do it is not a bad idea with respect to the immediate problem but is it not better to have the crew of the aircraft and not a third party (or fourth or fifth) close up?

4th Aug 2004, 13:51
Why not just have a strap with a handle that is tethered to the door, and remains inside the aircraft when the door is open. Crew then simply stand well inside the aircraft and pull on the strap to close the door, only moving in to latch it when the door is "shut". Surely that's a cheap enough safety feature - even for the airlines :E

4th Aug 2004, 14:16
Heavy, akward doors being handled by people whose selection criteria did not include muscle strength. I open/close the 737 frwrd service door about 6 times a day. I'm pretty strong, but I have to brace myself with one leg in the door frame and back against the other side of the frame to close it. Precarious position above the tarmac.
Mandatory cost savings in all airlines I know of. Max rostering lads to fatigue leads to reduced alertness & increased risk of personal injury. Fact of life in the cabin of most airliners these days.
The tightening up of operations on all levels makes everybody feel the pressure to 'get on with it'. CC are hired on their ability to be accomodating, on their willingness to please if you will. This makes us perhaps more suceptible to such pressures than others. In this respect, both pilot training and their less flexible mindset can be superior to what is often found in the cabin. Pilots seldomly let themselves be cowed by anyone. Many CC could do with more training and a stiffer backbone in this respect.
Safety harnesses sound good, but I very much doubt their factual use in the mad rush that is short haul.

4th Aug 2004, 15:24

Please can you elaborate a little on your third point? If I understand you correctly, the discipline involved in pilot's training creates a more confident and assertive character?

I'm not challenging what you're saying, but most cabin crew I've encountered as a customer have been as hard as nails, even the pretty ones :E

Fly Stimulator
4th Aug 2004, 15:45
Some BBC coverage of the accident here. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/3535100.stm)

4th Aug 2004, 16:00
Incident happened on a TCX flight from CFU - NCL.

Crew memeber was flown back by specially chartered 'biz' jet and is hopefully doing well in hospital.

BEagle - what witchdoctor means is that ryanair often will open the rear doors without steps in place, thus, surely an accident waiting to happen?


4th Aug 2004, 16:01
if Spiros does the hatch and stairs how soon will there be a repeat of the Turkish DC-10 out of Paris where the cargo door was forced closed improperly...The underlying factor in the sequence of events leading to the accident was the incorrect engagement of the door latching mechanism before take-off. The characteristics of the design of the mechanism made it possible for the vent door to be apparently closed and the cargo door apparently locked when in fact the latches were not fully closed and the lock pins were not in place. It should be noted, however that a view port was provided so that there could be a visual check of the engagement of the lock pins. This defective closing of the door resulted from a combination of various factors: - incomplete application of Service Bulletin 52-37; - incorrect modifications and adjustments which led, in particular, to insufficient protrusion of the lock pins and to the switching off of the flight deck visual warning light before the door was locked; - the circumstances of the closure of the door during the stop at Orly, and, in particular, the absence of any visual inspection, through the viewport to verify that the lock pins were effectively engaged, although at the time of the accident inspection was rendered difficult by the inadequate diameter of the view port. All these risks had already become evident, nineteen months earlier, at the time of the Windsor accident, but no efficacious corrective action had followed.(emphasis mine). While convenient to blame a ramper who couldn't read the English instructions, the facts don't really support it.
Sorry to wander off topic, but let's not perpetuate myths/stereotypes. And while I generally disapprove of lawsuits, I certainly hope the FA in question gets well compensated (and well in all respects) for this unnecessary accident.

4th Aug 2004, 16:23
It seems to me that procedural changes or physical devices will need to be centered upon the operation of the aircraft, rather than bear upon the stair-driver, if this is to have universal application. We need to ensure that CC are protected regardless of the prevailing regulatory scheme in the country they are visiting. In other words, and taking only 757s into consideration for the moment, it would be naïve to expect that every country in which CC are closing doors in proximity to external stairs today would adopt regulations which “ensured” that this kind of thing would not happen. Moreover, it would be stupid to bet your life on the expectation that a stair-driver would always comply with any such reg.

Sure, something like an ignition interlock on the stairs would be a wonderful idea. The last thing the CC would do as the door closed would be to reach out and flip the switch on the stairs, allowing the vehicle to start and drive away. But we all know that stairs without the interlock are going to show up at the aircraft, and that operators which DO use the interlock will sometimes disable it because it has become more trouble to the ground crew than it is worth…for instance, it has an intermittent fault or CC have forgotten to flip the switch from time to time, forcing the driver to climb the stairs and do it himself.

In the interest of full disclosure, Mrs. av8boy is long-time 757 CC and routinely flies into locations where enforcement of such a reg would be problematic. If a dependable solution is to be developed, I believe it will need to be aboard the aircraft itself.

4th Aug 2004, 17:51
We have a procedure in place whereby the person removing the steps from the aircraft goes to the top of the steps and visually checks that the door is closed or waits there until the crew close it before operating the steps.


5th Aug 2004, 01:38
The BBC story (link cited on previous page) says:

"Ms Henry has been with Thomas Cook for the past four months employed on a summer contract. "

Judging by some of the postings, she may have been engaged in a task that required special skills and training. This accident was bad enough but could so easily have been fatal or led to permanent disability. Quite apart from the scope for improving safety, one would have thought such tasks should be reserved for trained & experienced permanent employees.

5th Aug 2004, 06:33
In response to the last post .... all british airline crew regardless of length of employment are given all the required training in opening and closing doors ..... one could say new crew are far more aware of this than crew with many years service ... and therefore are not so complacent,and carry out procedures to the letter ......clearly you do not work in aviation or you would have known this.

5th Aug 2004, 07:07
Exactly JMC.

Opening and closing doors (both when steps are attached or not) is an everday part of life for UK Cabin Crew, and Im sure international crew as well.

And as you say, new starters are the most current and diligant out of all of us, fresh from SEP/SOP training and hours of opening/closing and dis/arming door drills.

If HKPAX actually worked in the industry he would indeed be aware of that.

But perhaps his username suggests he is a "Pax from HK" as opossed to one of us?!

Mike Oscar
5th Aug 2004, 12:46
We have been discussing this same issue and risk within my company for a while now, having had a number of Safety Reports regarding steps being moved without warning and with doors still open. We have seen the number of incidents reduce dramatically following an awareness and auditing campaign, but it does still happen, and the risk is still there.

I would welcome any solutions or ideas! The points made earlier are valid, in that trying to initiate modifications to equipment across multiple stations / handling agents would be virtually impossible....we all struggle to get the basic processes followed consistently in places, letalone something new!

I tend to agree with an earlier post.....if safety mechanisms were built into steps, someone would find a way to bypass them!

5th Aug 2004, 13:50
You would think that a simple hardpoint in the roof by the door and a saftey belt that attaches by carabina (spelling?) would be the cheapest and quickest fix. Put belt on by cc to close/open doors.

Be even easier on the freigher could just attach to the cargo net.

5th Aug 2004, 14:15
First and foremost I hope the young lady concerned is not too battered and will be home and fit soon.

Whatever the whys and wherefores of the incident - it was a buggers muddle at CFU that night. I had to wait twenty minutes or so after landing before being allowed to taxi to a parking slot. As my last homebound pax finished boarding, the first outbound bags were being unloaded. Simple fact is, CFU is too busy in the middle of the night with insufficient personnel. Vehicles are driven around the pan at ridiculous speeds - no wonder that corners are cut and accidents happen regardless of the circumstances of the incident in question.

5th Aug 2004, 14:23
beamer, sounds as though CFU is just the same as it was 15 years ago!!

5th Aug 2004, 16:02
A quick comparison if I may to a safety assessment I conducted recently for the construction industry.

Construction (Not 'law', but advised and mostly observed):
Any leading edge/working platform over 1.1 metres (yes, only about 4 feet!) above ground level to be fitted with double guard rails.
Where this is not possible physical barriers must be situated to protect the area and all operatives working on the unprotected side must wear approved fall arrest devices.
Use of step ladders of any height (or rather lack of) not generally allowed.

Well, this accident tells the sad story, nothing. Even at many times the height where the construction 'rules' begin to apply.

The construction industry is plagued by fatalities and 75% of these are due to falls.
Falls from aircraft are fortunately rare.
However the fact that falls from aircraft are few does not remove the risk.
Sadly as with many safety issues it seems it's a numbers game; when an unacceptable number of people are injured or worse then, and only then, is something done.
In my opinion it is an unacceptable risk to expose crew members to. A grab handle does not constitute 'protection'.
Simple fall restraints are readily available, would not be costly to provide or time consuming to use. The only additional item required being a suitably strong point near the door to clip onto.
Obviously only the lowest level of protection offered by a belt (as opposed to a harness) would be practical but would be sufficient to prevent a fall.

It shocks me that even the notoriously unsafe construction industry appear to be taking more care of their operatives than the highly safety orientated aviation industry over the issue of falls from heights.

I don't believe it's considered acceptable to expose employees to a fall risk such as this in any other industry.

5th Aug 2004, 20:22

Quite right and the runway as bumpy as ever - funny how the Turks manage to find enough people to load, clean, re-fuel and the greeks do not. Despite Turkish immigration bureaucracy I wonder who deserves a tourist industry more ?

5th Aug 2004, 21:56
CFU at night is most unpleasent. The obligatory stack for 15-30 minutes, "follow me" is never available and you can guarentee we'll end up in the hold shepherding the baggage guys once the homeward PAX are boarded.

5th Aug 2004, 23:47
Wishing Ms Henry a speedy recovery and a rapid return to flying. The drop to the ground on a 757 must be a looong way... glad to hear that she is not more badly injured (cf, the captain who fell from a 737 at NCL(?) a few months back - how is he now, anyone know?)

There seems to be waaaaay too many incidents like this. HSE, are you listening??


6th Aug 2004, 09:16
Hi everyone! i was just wondering if you do have an accident at work and lets just say break your ankle due to turbulence in what way are you insured? Which process do you have to take? Will the company do it for you or do you have to do it yourself and possible sue the bastards? ciao

6th Aug 2004, 13:49
Accidents "waiting to happen" like this seem too frequent for comfort. I spent my working life in the oil industry where Safety is paramount, and such an accident frequency as this would not be tolerated.
The quick fix is a safety harness, if properly adapted for the task it would be easy to use and give the user the confidence to lean out and not trust the steps. The user should be educated to the fact that Spiros and Co., sometimes drives away and ladders are therefore not safe.
The long term solution is a door opening and closing system which is automatic. If it cost a couple of million dollars to design,(one off cost) and say a quarter of a million to install it is peanuts in the overall cost of the aircraft.

6th Aug 2004, 13:56
Beancounters aren't primarily concerned about safety issues. It's not their job. Insurers, however, are. You can be sure that underwriters are looking at this issue. The premiums they set, based on incidents just like this one, are THEN taken account of by the beancounters.

Just a clarification.


A and C
6th Aug 2004, 16:23
It would seem form posts above that the steps were driven away from under the unfortunate lady.

How can you legislate for this type of stupidity ?. the driving away of the steps was a deliberate act and so no matter what "safety interlocks" are fitted to equipment if someone decides to drive it away with someone on top then an accident will be the result.

The fact of the matter is that the training of the door opperators has to be better , they have to take account of the low safety standards that they will find in places like CFU.

The risk free H&S attitude that you will find in northern europe and the USA simply don't exist in the these places so you must be ultra carefull and look after yourself.

Remember the lawers my have turned us into a blame culture but an accident hurts you exactly the same amount whoever is to blame !.

surely not
6th Aug 2004, 19:30
A and C you might be wrong to malign the driver of the steps. For all we know from this thread they might well have been given the all clear to remove the steps. The cabin crew member knowing that it is easier to close the door by getting it moving from the steps (as they have done many times before) jumps onto the steps. Alas the driver is quicker than normal and the accident occurs.

Far fetched? Actually no it isn't. This is what happened in one incident I know about. The company manuals didn't state that CC shouldn't use the steps as an aid to closing the door, though they did show the procedure from inside the aircraft. The H & S investigation found the airline remiss in this. They also recommended that a set procedure be agreed between the airline and Handling Agent for confirming it was safe to remove the steps, again something not formalised anywhere.

As the 'accepted' procedure for closing the doors doesn't involve CC using the steps, the driver wouldn't be expecting anyone on them after he'd been told to remove them.

Clarity of procedure reduces risks of accidents, isn't that why Flight Decks use SOP'S?

6th Aug 2004, 20:56
The incident with the easyjet captain did not happen in NCL, but in EDI. He is well on the road to recovery, but won't be flying for a while yet

7th Aug 2004, 00:03
Thanks for the update Jettesen - hope said Captain is back at the yoke Asap!


7th Aug 2004, 12:44
- ??Airbus vs Boeing doors?? - EASIEST?

I'm astonished that more people don't fall out of 757s...

I've been flying as CC on Britannia 757s from NCL for several years and yes the doors can be extremely heavy, the L & R4 doors (one of which I believe Ms Henry fell out of) always seem to be particularly heavy and especially after slightly longer flights when they're more prone to icing around the frame. The 757 door is FAR heavier than that of a 737 due mostly to the massive slide/raft bustles and icing on longer sectors can affect the effort needed to open these doors.

I'm a big strong boy!!!! BUT I still have to take a funny kind of statue stance with one leg buried in the door frame to get the baby moving!! I've regularly known two girls to struggle to shut the L4 door...not ideal.

I also have experience of Airbus A320 doors...which glide closed with practically no effort...BUT they do still involve angling yourself out of the door for that initial pull, which isn't ideal.

HOWEVER...the EASIEST doors to operate by far are the power assisted (AND even un-power assisted) doors of the 767s...the counter balance sytem makes it extremly easy to open and close doors without any need to even get close to leaning out of the a/c....door majestically glides in and out of the ceiling!! Obviously this is possible as there's space for the door in the ceiling of the wide body but there's got to be some easier way than the current 757 door!??

**I don't know Danielle Henry but I hope she recovers quickly.

7th Aug 2004, 13:51
balboy, you were probably not in the industry in the time of the DC-10 and L1011. They both had power assisted doors that retracted into the ceiling compartment. Nobody ever fell out of them whilst closing the doors.

7th Aug 2004, 16:26
I was once flying on a BY flight from LGW-CUN, on the ground at gatwick the CC was chatting to a gate agent and the power assisted door started to come down on top of her. she managed to clear herself just in time!

8th Aug 2004, 20:27
Used to work on all of the above-mentioned a/c types in a past-life as an in-flight caterer @ LGW, and I agree with all of the points raised. 757's were never particularly popular with any of the (ground)crews that I worked with, not only because of the weight of the doors, and the fact that they are so narrow and so awkward, but as mentioned previously, the metal door-sill does become scarily like a skating rink with the slightest bulild-up of moisture, either from a spillage or from atmospheric condensation! The lip at the edge of the sill definitely does nothing for one's confidence either!!

It was not uncommon for CC to require assistance from outside the a/c to move the door to a closed position, and many times I witnessed some of them lose their footing on either the aforementioned sill, or a wet galley floor!! Thankfully none of them came a-cropper on any of those occasions!

I realise the same is not possible on the port side of the a/c all of the time, but I do believe that it is an issue that requires some serious attention from operators and ground handling companies alike.

Seeing the situation from a slightly different (and highter-up) perspective in my current incarnation, and regularly witnessing CC getting themselves into extraordinarily acrobatic positions to try and man- (or woman!) -handle the doors closed, I often wonder how more of them do not have similar serious accidents? Particularly when the wind is driving rain in through the door at them as they struggle with the weight!

Best wishes and a speedy recovery to Miss Henry.

9th Aug 2004, 02:43
HotDog is right.
Even the 'ole Lockheed Electra had the vertical opening electric door.
Worked like a charm.

Gosh, even the powered boarding stairs on the Electra were a rather unique design.

Lockheed built it right.

9th Aug 2004, 11:02
I was so very sorry indeed to learn of this particular accident, I hope and trust the young lady concerned will make a full recovery.
Just as a matter of interest, would there be any great difficulty in fitting some form of `power assist`, be it electric or air driven to the 757 and other similar doors. My idea would be to just get the door moving inward from the fully open position and then any CC member could pull the door in the final few incehes and close it, without having to learn right out of the A/C.
Perhaps one of Ms Henry's colleagues at Brits would be kind enough to let us know how she is progressing and that she has all our very best wishes.

9th Aug 2004, 11:11
I haven't been in airline bussiness long but what i have found the doors on the DC10 & MD11 are the best,they should make the doors on all the A/C like that

9th Aug 2004, 21:04
I seem to remember that even the first HS125's had a door which went up into the roof.

10th Aug 2004, 06:04
the doors on the Trident also went up in to the roof but manually i think as opposed to the powered ones of the L1011 and DC10

10th Aug 2004, 23:31
Only the L1 and L2 doors on the 767-300 and only the L1 on the 767-200 are power assisted, however the counter balance means they are relatively light to move up OR down, especially considering how much wider than the 757's they are.

in response to fitting power assist to 757s for normal door operation - even if available it would NEVER happen in today's economic climate, especially amongst the charter carriers like us!!