Things turned frightening at Los Angeles’ airport complex as a taxiing A321 collided with a passenger shuttle bus on the tarmac. The resulting crash left the shuttle’s driver, several passengers, and an airport employee injured and requiring medical attention.
The incident occurred 10:00pm Friday night as the American Airlines jet, empty at the time, was being towed away from the gate. It is unclear how the operator of the shuttle bus missed clear signals of a departing aircraft.
After the incident, the Los Angeles Fire Department was called and brought in to assist with an assessment of the incident as well as provide medical care to the injured parties. At least four people were transported to a nearby hospital.
LAX put out a statement shortly after the collision.
“A jet being towed tonight from a gate to a parking area made contact with a shuttle bus, resulting in injuries to about 5 people. We thank our partners @LAFD for quickly responding and treating passengers from the bus. Other LAX operations remain normal,” the airport said in a statement.
A jet being towed tonight from a gate to a parking area made contact with a shuttle bus, resulting in injuries to about 5 people. We thank our partners @LAFD for quickly responding and treating passengers from the bus. Other LAX operations remain normal.
— LAX Airport (@flyLAXairport) February 11, 2023
As Fox News reported, the injuries occurred to both the driver of the tug – the vehicle used for towing the plane – along with the driver of the bus and a few of the passengers traveling on it.
The five people hurt included the tug driver, who is listed in moderate condition; the bus driver and two passengers, who are believed to be in fair condition; and an LAX worker, according to the report.
The collision happened at the nose of the plane, videos of the incident showed. The front of the bus was smashed in and its front window was damaged.
The worker was the only one who was not transported to the hospital, LAFD said.
The crash did not disrupt regular operations at the airport and flights both in and out continued without pause while the fire department and airport officials tended to the tarmac issue.
The last time a serious accident occurred at LAX was in 1991 when two commercial jets collided on an active runway. Both planes were full of passengers.
In that disaster, a Boeing 737 collided with a regional carrier’s smaller turboprop plane as it conducted its landing. Several compounding issues led to the final deadly crash that witnessed the loss of over 30 souls. According to Wikipedia, an air traffic controller was distracted by several problems including a misplaced strip for coordinating planes and inadvertently cleared the smaller aircraft to taxi into takeoff position on the runaway.
Upon landing, the 737 collided with the twin-engined turboprop, continued down the runway with the turboprop crushed beneath it, exited the runway, and caught fire. All 12 people aboard the smaller plane were killed, as well as an eventual total of 23 of the 89 occupants of the Boeing 737. Rescue workers were on the scene of the fire within minutes and began the evacuation of the plane. Because of the intense fire, three of the 737’s six exits could not be used. Neither of the front exits was usable, which caused the front passengers to try to use the overwing exits. However, only one of the overwing exits was usable, which caused a backlog to form. Most of those who died aboard the 737 succumbed to asphyxiation in the post-crash fire.
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