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2oth of April 2004, Ground Collision Blog #648

A McDonnell Douglas MD-82 was scheduled to perform a scheduled service between Rome and Trieste (Italy) on the 20th of April 2004. The weather was good and as they prepared the aircraft, fuel was ordered (9.600 kgs / 15.200 lbs) and the NOTAMs were checked. Only one NOTAM was active voor Trieste, grass being mowed along the runway and taxiways. At 7.47 lt (local time) the aircraft took off from Rome Fiumicino Airport, 22 minutes behind schedule, due to longer taxiing as a result of heavy traffic. With the copilot as Pilot-Flying (PF) the flight to Trieste-Ronchi dei Legionari Airport was uneventful.

Close-up of the damage, note fuel still dripping (© & Source: ANSV)

After being cleared by ATC a visual approach was flown and a normal landing was performed on runway 09 at Trieste. Following the landing the crew received their taxi instructions by the tower. The copilot completed the "After Landing Checklist", and started the APU as the taxi time to the parking stand was short. The Captain taxied the aircraft via Taxiway B towards the taxi track (nose wheel steering controls were only located on the captain's side of the cockpit). When approaching the end of Taxiway B the co-pilot observed a lorry parked close to the taxi track of the aircraft in an area where work was carried out. The captain swerved the aircraft and braked sharply attempting to avoid a collision.

Firefighters on the scene (© & Source: ANSV)

The lorry driver, who saw the aircraft approaching started his truck and intended to drive away quickly. However, it was too late. A violent collision occurred between the aircraft's right wing and the truck bed's rear edge. The aircraft continued a few meters more before coming to a stop, to the left of the taxiway centerline. A large part of the wing was ripped off and fuel started gushing from the severely damaged wing as seen by the co-pilot. He informed the captain of this who immediately called ATC for the fire brigade after which he ordered an evacuation via the Passenger Address system.

Hearing this command the cabin crew opened the (emergency) doors and exits on the left-hand side of the aircraft and the tail cone and rapidly evacuated the passengers. After assessing whether it was safe to do so, also the right-hand forward emergency exit was opened to expedite the evacuation.

Close-up of the sheared of the outer wing (© & Source: ANSV)

2 minutes and 24 seconds after the emergency call firefighters arrived at the accident site and covered the broken wing and fuel spill with firefighting foam, there was no post-accident fire.

Damage to the aircraft was extensive;

  • Outboard 3,5 meters (138") of the right wing sheared off

  • Dents and wrinkles in the fuselage around the wing-fuselage attachment, what indicated there was serious damage to the aircraft structure.

Wrinkles in the fuselage, indicative of structural damage (© & Source: ANSV)

The accident was investigated by the ANSV (Agenzia Nazionale per la Sicurezza del Volo, the Italian flight safety agency). They concluded that the probable causes for the accident were;

  • Failure to close Taxiway Bravo (B) and issuance of a relevant NOTAM for ongoing works adjacent to the taxiway

  • Failure by ATC to inform the crew of essential information on the conditions at the airport per (ICAO) regulations

  • Airport signs not per (ICAO) regulations

  • Regulations of Italian Civil Aviation Authorities not complied with

  • Insufficient surveillance of work being carried out by the Italian Civil Aviation Authorities and airport management

  • No Safety Management in place at the airport

  • Inadequate surveillance by crew during taxiing for safe clearance

Overview of the accident site (© & Source: ANSV)

Several safety recommendations were made in the investigation report. The report, in Italian, (which served as one of the sources for this blog) can be accessed by clicking on the .pdf file below;

Download PDF • 3.20MB

** Editorial note **

V2 Aviation - Training & Maintenance has not been able to obtain an investigation report in English on this accident. This blog is therefore based on several internet sources. Should there be inconsistencies in the blog don't hesitate to get in touch with us. There are two possibilities to do that, via the comments function at the bottom of this page or via the contact page of the website.

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