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N325PX accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Memphis, TN
35.149534°N, 90.048980°W
Tail number N325PX
Accident date 03 Nov 1998
Aircraft type Saab-Scania AB (Saab) 340A
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On November 3, 1998, about 2000 central standard time, a Saab 340A, N325PX, registered to Meridian Trust Company and operated by Express Airlines One, Inc. as Northwest Airlink flight 5858, a Title 14 CFR Part 121 scheduled domestic passenger flight from Memphis, Tennessee, to Cincinnati, Ohio, had a ground crewmember receive fatal injuries due to contact with a rotating propeller. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The aircraft received minor damage. The airline transport-rated captain, first officer, one flight attendant, and eight passengers were not injured. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The captain and first officer stated the ground crewmember was positioned to the right front of the aircraft and had assisted with the start of the No. 2 engine, in preparation for departure. She then signaled for permission to disconnect the ground power unit, which was parked behind the right wing. This was given by the first officer. A short time later, they heard a loud noise and the first officer looked out the window and saw the ground crewmember lying on the ground in front of the right wing.

Passengers seated on the right side of the aircraft stated they observed the ground crewmember standing about 8 feet to the right side and in front of the airplane. The No. 2 engine had been started and the ground crewmember signaled a "T" with her flashlights. She then proceeded to walk toward the rear of the aircraft and walked into and was struck by the rotating No. 2 propeller.

The Express Airlines One, Inc., Station Operations Manual gives precautions to ground crewmembers about engine and propeller safety. The manual specifically states in the Ramp Safety section item 2A(5) "do not go under the wing of an aircraft when the engine on that wing is running." The Express Airlines One, Inc., In-Station Training Program, Facilitator Guide, page 24 states, "Walk around wing when moving from front to rear or vice versa-use the wingtips as your guide-NEVER WALK OR DRIVE UNDER THE WING OF A/C!". (See attached pages from Station Operations Manual and In-Station Training Manual)

Employment records showed the ground crewmember who was struck by the rotating propeller had been hired by Express Airlines One, Inc. on February 23, 1998, as a ground service agent. She was employed part time and worked Sunday through Thursday 1730 to 2100. She was also employed full time at Regional Medical Center, Memphis, Tennessee, as an administrative secretary. She worked Monday through Friday, 0700 to 1530. She worked in her full time position on the day of the accident and then reported for work at Express Airlines One, Inc. at 1734. (See attached employment records and record of telephone conversation)

Postmortem examination of the ground crewmember was performed by O. C. Smith, M.D., Medical Examiner's Office, Memphis, Tennessee. The cause of death was attributed to blunt head injuries.

Postmortem toxicology studies on specimens obtained from the ground crewmember were performed by D. T. Stafford, Ph.D., University of Tennessee Toxicology Laboratory, Memphis, Tennessee, and Dennis V. Canfield, Ph.D., FAA Toxicology Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The studies were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol alcohol. The studies were positive for 191 ug/ml salicylate in urine and a detection of a trace of brompheniramine in urine. (See attached toxicology reports)

NTSB Probable Cause

The ground crewmembers inadvertent walking into the path of a rotating propeller resulting in her being struck and fatally injured.

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