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N972AN accident description

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Crash location 42.364167°N, 71.005000°W
Nearest city Boston, MA
42.358431°N, 71.059773°W
2.8 miles away
Tail number N972AN
Accident date 04 Oct 2003
Aircraft type Boeing 737
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 4, 2003, at 1450 eastern daylight time, a Boeing 737, N972AN, operated by American Airlines Inc., as flight 847, was substantially damaged while parked at Gate 26, when it was struck by an unoccupied ground support van, operated by American Eagle Inc., at the General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport (BOS), Boston, Massachusetts. The 2 flightcrew members, 4 flight attendants, and 70 passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight that was destined for the Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD), Chicago, Illinois. The scheduled passenger flight was to be conducted under 14 CFR Part 121.

According to personnel at American Eagle, a mechanic had parked the ground support van outside the baggage area under Gate 26, and exited the van. When he returned to the van several minutes later, it had rolled backwards and impacted a parked aircraft.

Massachusetts State Police and Massport officials examined the van and determined that the gearshift lever was faulty. When the 'park' detent was selected, the van was actually in 'reverse'. Representatives from American Eagle then examined all ground support vehicles in their fleet to identify any additional faulty gearshift levers. During the inspection, one vehicle was identified as faulty, and removed from service.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed a 10-inch hole with a larger dented area in the fuselage pressure bulkhead, located on the left side of the airplane, midway between the left engine and the L1 door.

NTSB Probable Cause

The collision of a ground support vehicle with a parked aircraft, due to the faulty gearshift lever on the ground support vehicle.

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