Namibia A319 at Windhoek on Dec 13th 2019, passenger assist unit collapses

Last Update: November 2, 2020 / 15:14:01 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Dec 13, 2019

Classification
Accident

Flight number
SW-708

Aircraft Registration
V5-ANM

Aircraft Type
Airbus A319

ICAO Type Designator
A319

An Air Namibia Airbus A319-100, registration V5-ANM performing flight SW-708 from Cape Town (South Africa) to Windhoek (Namibia), had safely landed in Windhoek and taxied to the terminal. A number of passengers, while deboarding, required assistance by a passenger assist unit (PAU) (basically a lift), when the PAU tipped backwards and collapsed. Six passengers and two ground staff were injured and taken to a local private hospital.

The airline reported three passengers were discharged from hospital after checks and treatment, three were admitted. The ground staff was discharged, too, and are on sick leave. The PAU designed to assist passengers with disabilities had taken two passengers down from flight SW-728 just prior to assisting the passengers of SW-708 to disembark, when the PAU tipped over backwards. A factory welded joint was found broken in the initial investigation into the cause of the accident. The PAU had received a full service just the prior month.

In October 2020 Namibia's Directorate of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigations (DAAII) released their final report concluding the probable cause of the accident was:

Failure of the R/H bushing on the torque shaft caused the PAU equipment to collapse

Contributing factors:

- Worn out R/H bushing due to lack of proper maintenance and servicing of the equipment.
- Exceeding the PAU equipment’s approved carrying capacity.
- Lack of proper training of the company staff.

The DAAII reported that six of the 11 people on board were injured and taken to a local hospital, 3 were immediately, the remaining 3 later discharged after observation. The PAU had been certified to carry only 8 people (or 1000kg).

The DAAII analysed:

2.1 The PAU equipment failed during the time they were assisting passengers with limited mobility to disembark from Air Namibia flight SW 708 which arrived at Hosea Kutako International Airport from Cape Town, South Africa.

2.2 The incident happened at the time one of Air Namibia check-in agent who was assisting the driver/operator in operating the equipment was in a process of lowering the raised cabin down which was half way before reaching full down.

2.3 During the investigation, DAAII found out that Air Namibia supervisors at Hosea Kutako International Airport gave their check-in agents authorization to operate the PAU equipment without receive any formal training.

2.4 The check-in agents started to operate the PAU equipment since February 2019 after they we showed by their supervisors on how to operate it without any formal training

2.5 It is the investigator’s opinion that the overloading of the PAU equipment with 11 people while its maximum carrying capacity is certified to carry only 8 people or 1000 kg, might have contributed to the incident.

2.6 The investigation also found out that some of the 11 people on board the cabin of the PAU equipment were not secured with seat belts which caused them to be tipped towards the back of the cabin as the equipment slammed back on its lower platform, causing some injuries to six (6) of the occupants.

2.7 All six (6) injured occupants who were taken to a local private Hospital in town, three (3) were discharged immediately after observation while the other 3 who were hospitalized for further observations have also been discharged after some few days of observation by the medical staff.

2.8 The investigation also found that the PAU equipment suffered some damages to its inner scissor beams which was cracked from the bottom side up just aft of the torque shaft attachment.

2.9 The working parts of the lifting mechanism appeared not to have any grease or lubrication nipples and were not serviced.

2.10 Due to the non lubrication of the working parts of the lifting components, the right hand side (R/H) bushing on the outer scissor beams of the torque shaft of the hydraulic actuator was severely worn with visible corrosion and no indication of lubrication to indicate that the parts were serviced.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Dec 13, 2019

Classification
Accident

Flight number
SW-708

Aircraft Registration
V5-ANM

Aircraft Type
Airbus A319

ICAO Type Designator
A319

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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