Accidents Beyond Aircraft Accidents

An American Airlines aircraft mechanic died this week in Dallas. It is still unclear (at this writing) how the professional died, but his passing reminds us that an active ramp is a dangerous environment to even the most seasoned professional; whether you’re a mechanic, a cargo handler, fueler, or pilot completing a walk-around.
An active ramp makes the streets of Manhattan pale in comparison. According to the type of ramp (cargo or passenger) the amount of traffic is daunting. Unlike a street corner, the traffic can come from any direction; it arrives silently because many are required (rightfully so) to wear hearing protection; it comes invisibly when ramp lighting, rain and snow confuse visual perception.
But the ramp is not the only danger; activity to one’s left may divert attention away from a jetway or crew stairs not mated to the aircraft, leaving a gap to step through. The need to expedite a flight can lead to serious injury or death: a victim’s yells unheard over a pushback tug or a running APU’s/main engine’s droning.
In my past I personally knew a mechanic who was crushed to death. In another incident a mechanic was crippled under the main gear wheels of a wide-body airliner. There were others, and not just mechanics.
This unfortunate event reminds us … all of us, that awareness is life. Vision should be 360 degrees along the X, Y and Z axis. Listen, listen and then listen some more; be constantly aware of your surroundings. My condolences go to the family of the American Airlines mechanic who died. And for all of us working aviation, let’s be careful out there … please.

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