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Accident description
Last updated: 16 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Sunday 12 March 1995
Time:13:05
Type:Silhouette image of generic SH36 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Shorts 360-200
Operated by:Executive Airlines
On behalf of:American Eagle
Registration: N376MQ
C/n / msn: SH.3685
First flight:
Total airframe hrs:16273
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 23
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 26
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:San Juan-Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) (   Puerto Rico)
Phase: Taxi (TXI)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Saint Thomas-Cyril E. King Airport (STT/TIST), U.S. Virgin Islands
Destination airport:San Juan-Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU/TJSJ), Puerto Rico
Flightnumber:5539
Narrative:
A Lockheed L-1011, N724DA, operating Delta Air Lines flight DL189, experienced an on-ground collision during pushback at the San Juan-Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, Puerto Rico, with a Shorts 360, N376MQ. The Shorts operated American Eagle flight 5539.
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The Delta Airlines airplane sustained minor damage and the American Eagle airplane sustained substantial damage. There were no injuries.
American Eagle flight 539 had requested and received permission to taxi from runway 10 to the ramp at 13:00:12. At 13:00:40, Delta Airlines flight 189 requested pushback clearance from ground control, and was approved at 13:00:43.
The lead left wingman for Delta flight 189 stated they had just commenced pushback from gate 33 when he observed an American Eagle flight taxiing behind flight 189. He signaled the tug operator to stop the pushback. The American Eagle flight taxied past flight 189, stopped, started taxiing again, and stopped abruptly. The tug operator commenced pushback procedures without receiving instructions from the dispatching agent. The wingman signaled the tug operator to stop, however; the right wing tip of Delta flight 189 collided with the rudder of American Eagle flight 5539 before the pushback was stopped.

Delta Airlines SOP states, the dispatching ramp agent is responsible for directing the movement of aircraft. It also states the dispatching ramp agent is responsible for observing obstruction clearance and executing the appropriate ramp signals to the tug operator. It further states the tug operator is responsible for following the signals of the dispatching ramp agent.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The failure of the tug operator to follow correct pushback procedures by commencing pushback without clearance, resulting in an on-ground collision with another airplane."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 99 days (3 months)
Accident number: MIA95LA086B
Download report: Summary report

Sources:
» NTSB


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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Saint Thomas-Cyril E. King Airport to San Juan-Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport as the crow flies is 108 km (68 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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