Ground crew to blame for fiery plane collision at Pearson in January, TSB says
2 jets collided on the ground, leaving 1 plane on fire, passengers running for the exits
A fiery collision earlier this year between two planes was the fault of the ground crew at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, according to a new report from the Transportation Safety Board (TSB).
Nobody suffered major injuries, but hundreds of passengers were put at risk when two Boeing 737-800 aircraft — one operated by Sunwing, the other by WestJet — touched wings on the ground on Jan. 5, sparking a fire that passengers captured on video.
The report, released Wednesday, says a ground crew handling the Sunwing aircraft towed the jet backward without what are known as "wing walkers" — members of the crew who make sure the plane's wingtips don't collide with a ground vehicle or another aircraft.
The TSB says that violates the rules of Swissport, the aviation services company that coordinates ground crews, Sunwing and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA).
Additionally, the evacuation process was made more difficult because passengers had refused the instructions of flight attendants.
According to the report, flight attendants had repeatedly asked passengers to leave carry-on baggage behind, which several passengers didn't do.
Other irregularities included the fact the plane's emergency lights had failed to activate during the evacuation, as well as the use of "phraseology" the GTAA calls inconsistent with their procedures.
The GTAA also said that due to large distances and obstructions, airport officials often do not have a clear view of certain areas, including the parking area named in this incident.