Friday, July 12, 2013

OOOPS... Push-back tug accidentally driven into nose gear of Delta Air Lines plane at San Francisco Airport!

Here’s an interesting photo doing the rounds at the moment, taken by a passenger at San Francisco International Airport earlier this week.

Although it’s not immediately clear from looking at the image, it actually shows a push back tug on the ground, which was accidentally driven into the nose gear of a Delta Air Lines plane… oops!

The unfortunate incident happened moments before the aircraft was scheduled to depart on Cincinnati, Ohio-bound flight. Around 138 passengers were on board when the collision occurred, according to media reports, and they felt ‘a big time jolt’.

This could have been an expensive mishap for Delta Air Lines, but luckily for the carrier there was no evidence of damage.

NBC Bay Area interviewed one of the passengers, Bob Meyer, who explained that everyone had to disembark and wait for a replacement aircraft, which departed a few hours later. The video report is included below.

“They immediately opened the doors back up and both of the captains came off the plane and went out to inspect what happened,” he commented. “They told everybody that one of the tugs had hit the plane and we all had to get off. We couldn’t use the plane.”

The replacement plane, although just a safety precaution, helped to keep passengers calm, especially with everyone feeling a bit sensitive after the recent Asiana Airlines crash at SFO.

"Luckily they were able to get us off the plane. It would have been racing through my head the whole time if they had thought it was okay to fly the plane. You know, is it really safe to fly the plane,” Meyers added. “It’s  night time out, something that big hit the plane, I’m sure everybody out there was worried about something like that happening. You don’t want to crash land after something like that just happened over the weekend.”

MORE PHOTOS: Southwest Airlines unhappy with ‘leaked’ photo of airport worker

How exactly could this have happened? Was it simply a case of the driver not looking ahead? Leave your comments below – and don’t forget to like The Aviation Writer’s Facebook page to keep updated with more aviation stories, photos and videos. Click here to visit.

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  1. Someones gonna get fired!

  2. There are some things that one can only wonder about. Well Someone definitely getting fired for sure....

  3. Marina ProzorovaJuly 13, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    It is so easy for this to happen, because the push back tug must be connected to nose gear...

  4. With the towbar sitting off to the side I'd say they forgot to put the pin in the tug hitch. And so when you start the push you drive over the towbar and ram the airplane.

  5. Delta Passenger : "Finally! We are boarding after a two hour delay at SFO"

    Pilot : "Ladies and gentlemen, a baggage truck just hit our aircraft, so we are not going to be able to fly today"

  6. Incidents at San Francisco going up up up...

  7. Michael WinaughtJuly 13, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    That has happened here at TYS too.

  8. Phillip RodriguezJuly 13, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Most likely someone forgot the parking brake and got out of the tug, I've seen it happen a few times.

  9. The damages may be visible only after a few cycles. I'm sure the nlg will be closely monitored...

  10. May be his (the truck driver's) human performance has been lagged by something...!! Human error!! :p

  11. Normally should have an extra pair of eyes outside the TUG,( a ground ops element or even a mechanic ) monitoring the push-back tractor approach to the plane.

    I am not a mechanic nor engineer but I do think that the plane needs to be suspended and have the nose struct properly checked before any other cycle (inclusive the up and down movement)...

  12. Left in gear with handbrake on, whoops!

  13. Another blinding light?

  14. I think that this is a brake failure. Happened while coming close to the aircraft.

  15. how come the tug is driven to nose gear while the tow bar is out?

    tow bar shud be placed first and pins inserted with guidance....ignorance to laid down rules on the part of technicians???

    recurring trainings are only solution.......

  16. "there was no evidence of damage."

    Yeh, like we believe that. The risk is that one day the gear may fail to descend, but hey, it seems it's all about profits today.


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