American Airlines Worker Dies In Preventable Accident At Texas Airport

A jet bridge allows passengers to board and deplane directly through an airport terminal without having to go outside.

A mechanic for American Airlines was killed in an accident at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, reported NBC News (3.2.15). He suffered fatal injuries after falling approximately 14 feet from a jet bridge to the ground below when he slipped while closing and locking the door on a Boeing 767.

The aircraft maintenance technician, Dave Ostang, had worked for American Airlines for 30 years.

A jet way or jet bridge is the elevated, movable bridge that provides a covered walkway for passengers to walk between an aircraft and the terminal. The plane had just been moved from a maintenance hangar to Gate D30.

Ostang’s death illustrates the safety risks on airport ramps, often congested areas around terminals where planes are parked, baggage is loaded and unloaded, tanks are refueled and catering is delivered.

In December 2014, USA Today ran a story on ramp accidents, which cost airlines an estimated $10 billion each year. Worldwide, there are around 27,000 airport ramp accidents that occur annually. The incidents killed 99 people between 2001 and 2014, said USA Today citing data compiled by the Service Employees International Union.

The Flight Safety Foundation, an industry-sponsored group that researches aviation, analyzed airline data and estimated that approximately 243,000 people are injured each year in the 27,000 ramp accidents and incidents that occur every year. This means that there is about one ramp accident or incident per every 1,000 departures worldwide every year. The injury rate was 9 per 1,000 departures. These accidents affect airport operations and result in employee injuries, as well as damage aircraft, facilities and ground-support equipment.

Sadly, Ostang’s fall from the jet bridge could have been prevented. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s fall protection standard requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces and six feet in the construction industry. Falls are one of the leading causes of worker deaths.

The NBC News story cited is “American Airlines Mechanic Killed in Accident at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

The USA Today article cited is “Congested airport ramps risky before and after flights.” (12.17.14)

For over 40 years, David H. Perecman has distinguished himself as one of the leading personal injury lawyers in New York City, championing all types of personal injury cases including construction accidents, premises accidents, automobile accidents, and medical malpractice, along with employment discrimination, false arrest, and civil rights cases.