Two days ago, a Boeing 737-400 that served as a freighter for Aer Caribe suffered an accident in the Juan Santamaría International Airport of San Jose, Costa Rica. A pushback tug crashed with the belly of the plane. Let’s investigate further.
It was 4 am on Tuesday. A pushback tug was going through the San Jose International Airport when it crashed with the plane’s belly. The driver of the tug was slightly injured.
Meanwhile, the Boeing 737-400 suffered a mechanical failure due to the impact, according to local newspapers.
The Costa Rican aviation authorities are launching an investigation regarding the accident, said Luis Miranda, sub-director of Civil Aviation. Meanwhile, the Colombian carrier is parking its plane while it repairs it.
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What’s the use of the pushback tugs?
The pushback tugs are used to push airplanes backward, away from an airport gate. These procedures are among the most expensive in aviation, as towing can cost US$100 per minute. There’s plenty of room for improvement with the pushback procedures, as you can read in Simple Flying’s interview with WheelTug CEO Isaiah Cox.
Other similar accidents
Last year, a ramp worker at Chicago O’Hare International Airport saved an Envoy Embraer 140 aircraft from an impact from an out-of-control vehicle.
In this incident, Jorge Manalang took a pushback tug and threw it at the crazy vehicle. He saved the airport and Envoy from an expensive repair. It’s a video you gotta see.
Crazy event at ORD. Heads up safety move by a ramp worker! pic.twitter.com/SQi5zB0Ooz
— Kevin Klauer DO, EJD (@Emergidoc) September 30, 2019
In December 2016, an Airbus A330 from Air Transat had a very similar accident to the Air Caribe’s one. A pushback tug became stuck under the A330 at Vancouver International Airport.
More recently, a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350 was damaged during towing at London’s Heathrow Airport.
In Russia, a fuel tank crashed underneath the nose of an Aeroflot A321. Also, in Brazil, a luggage transportation vehicle damaged a LATAM Airbus A350 when both collided. In November 2019, two Bombardier CRJ900 were damaged in Dallas after an accident involving a fuel truck. These accidents rarely hurt anyone. Nevertheless, for the airlines and companies, towing the airplanes can be costly crashes.
Who’s Aer Caribe?
AerCaribe is a Colombian based carrier. It operates charter and cargo services from its base in El Dorado International Airport in Bogota. It also has a secondary hub at Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport.
The Colombian cargo airline began operations in 2006. It currently has a fleet of four aircraft Boeing 737. This week it received its fourth unit. Its website also promotes that it has a fleet of Antonov 26 and Antonov 32 aircraft. Nevertheless, Planespotters.com doesn’t count them as part of its current fleet.
Finally, according to its website, AerCaribe flies internationally to Curazao, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, it has 12 domestic routes in Colombia and 11 in Peru.
What do you think about this accident? Let us know in the comments.