ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737-8AS (WL) 9H-QCJ Malta-Luqa Airport (MLA)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Friday 2 April 2021
Type:Silhouette image of generic B738 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-8AS (WL)
Operator:Malta Air
Registration: 9H-QCJ
MSN: 62690/5843
First flight: 2016-03-22 (5 years )
Engines: 2 CFMI CFM56-7B26E
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location:Malta-Luqa Airport (MLA) (   Malta)
Phase: Pushback / towing (PBT)
Departure airport:-
Destination airport:-
A Boeing 737-800, 9H-QCJ, was being repositioned from Apron 8 to Apron 2 at Malta-Luqa Airport under tow. The aircraft was pushed back from Stand 2 onto taxiway I and the tow proceeded along taxiway I and taxiway J, crossing runway 23. As the tow truck turned onto taxiway K, the tow bar became detached and the aircraft proceeded straight, entering the cargo and GSE Area and coming to rest against a bank of 4 fuel bowsers parked side by side.

Probable Cause:

Aircraft towing is a routine operation that, despite its relatively mundane nature, requires careful operation and stringent safety procedures to ensure that incidents and accidents are avoided. This accident occurred due to a lack of adherence to such procedures, including:
1) Proper flight deck checks and aircraft setup for a towing procedure;
2) Adequate coordination between ground staff and the tug driver to ensure a safe environment that avoids the need of sudden braking by the tug;
3) Careful checking of the shear pins following a sudden or sharp braking event;
4) Correct seating of the brake operator in the pilot’s seat during tow to be able to apply brakes in an effective and timely manner in the event of tow bar detachment.
In addition, the lack of training on aircraft operating procedures and emergency evacuation procedures given to the tow crew jeopardized the safe securing of the aircraft and safe evacuation after the accident.
In conclusion, the cause of the accident was identified to be:
- A lack of training, clear procedures and inadequate level of attention given to safety during operation.

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: BAAI Malta
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year 1 month
Accident number: BAAI/ACR-002-2021
Download report: Final report

Collision with airport equipment
Damaged on the ground



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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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