Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Boeing 737-8CT (WL), WestJet, C-FDMB and Boeing 737-8FH (WL), Sunwing Airlines, C-FPRP: Accident occurred January 05, 2018 at Toronto-Pearson International Airport, ON (YYZ), Canada


WestJet Airlines Ltd., Boeing 737-800, C-FDMB and Sunwing Airlines Inc., Boeing 737-800, C-FPRP

Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Ontario

January 05, 2018

On 05 January 2018, a WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WestJet) Boeing 737-800 (flight 2425, registration CFDMB, serial number 60127) had arrived from CancĂșn, Mexico, with 169 passengers and 6 crew members on board. At 1759, 1 it came to rest in Lane 2 of the north-side apron of Pier B at Terminal 3 of Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport (CYYZ), Ontario. The engines were running, and the flight crew were waiting for ground personnel to marshal the aircraft into position at Gate B12.

The WestJet aircraft was positioned directly behind and perpendicular to a Sunwing Airlines Inc. (Sunwing) Boeing 737-800 (registration C-FPRP, serial number 39959), which was parked at Gate B13. The Sunwing aircraft was being prepared to be towed to another location at the airport. The auxiliary power unit (APU), which is housed in the tail of the aircraft, was operating and a maintenance technician employed by Sunwing was in the cockpit; there were no passengers or flight crew on board. 

Two ground personnel (a tow vehicle operator and an assistant) employed by Swissport International Ltd. (Swissport) were in the cab of a tow vehicle connected to the nose of the Sunwing aircraft. 

At 1816:04, the tow vehicle operator radioed the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) Apron Management Unit (AMU) and requested permission to push the Sunwing aircraft back. The AMU north apron radio officer informed the tow vehicle operator to “push back at your discretion,” after which the tow vehicle operator began the pushback procedure. At this time, there were no other ground personnel, such as wing walkers, in the area.

At 1816:31, the Sunwing aircraft’s tail collided with the stationary WestJet aircraft’s right wing. Shortly afterward, passengers on board the WestJet aircraft began standing up to get a better view of what had occurred, and the flight attendants (FAs) instructed everyone to remain seated. The WestJet flight crew informed the AMU of the collision. The AMU officer instructed the tow vehicle operator to pull the Sunwing aircraft back toward the gate.

At 1817:02, a large ball of fire erupted near the area of aircraft contact.

The WestJet flight crew were immediately aware of the fire, and began the evacuation process, which included following the Boeing 737-800 evacuation quick reference checklist (QRC). The flight crew made a Mayday radio call and informed the AMU that they were evacuating.

The AMU officer contacted aircraft rescue and fire-fighting (ARFF) services and air traffic control and informed them of the fire and the need for assistance.

At 1817:13, the Swissport tow vehicle operator pulled the Sunwing aircraft back toward the gate, away from the WestJet aircraft.

The maintenance technician on board the Sunwing aircraft activated the APU emergency fuel shut-off valve and discharged the associated fire extinguisher. The technician then exited the cockpit using the left cockpit window and the emergency rope, and sustained minor injuries in doing so. Once outside the aircraft, as an additional measure, the technician also deployed the mechanically operated APU fire extinguisher and fuel shut-off valve located in the aircraft wheel well.

When the Sunwing aircraft was pulled away, the fire on the wing of the WestJet aircraft self-extinguished. However, the fire on the tail of the Sunwing aircraft continued, but decreased in intensity.

When the fire erupted, some passengers on board the WestJet aircraft began to panic. Three seconds after the fire erupted, and before any commands from the crew, passengers seated at the forward left over-wing emergency exit opened the exit and escaped onto the wing; other passengers followed. At this time, the engines were still running.

Two FAs stationed at the rear of the aircraft saw the fire, realized that some of the passengers were panicking, and determined that an immediate evacuation was necessary. The rear FAs assessed the area surrounding the right rear exit and decided it was not safe to use that exit, given the location of the fire.

One of the rear FAs informed the lead FA, who was at the front of the aircraft, and the captain via interphone that there was a fire and that they were evacuating. At 1817:22, the left rear exit was opened and the slide was deployed.

The 2 front FAs did not immediately evacuate because they were waiting for a command from the captain. The lead FA was aware that opening the front doors would put the passengers at risk because the engines were still operating.

The flight crew proceeded with the QRC, which includes shutting down the engines and the APU as well as lowering the wing flaps (these are used as slides for evacuations). The QRC step that required the pulling of the engine and APU fire switches was not followed because the first officer deemed this action not relevant to the current situation. As a result, the emergency lights that would automatically activate and illuminate the area around the slides and over-wing exits did not turn on.

At 1817:51, the captain made the evacuation announcement over the aircraft public address system. The 2 front FAs assessed the outside environment for hazards, then opened the 2 front exits and deployed the slides. As per the WestJet evacuation procedures, the first officer then exited the aircraft to assist the passengers.

During the evacuation, the FAs issued instructions with and without the assistance of a handheld megaphone, telling the passengers to leave all their carry-on baggage behind. Despite these instructions, numerous passengers brought carry-on baggage with them, which slowed down the evacuation process. In addition to this delay, several passengers who exited through the left over-wing exits did not see a slide, or the arrows showing the exit route; as a result, they re-entered the cabin.

When the captain left the cockpit, he noticed that the emergency lights were not illuminated and re-entered the cockpit to determine why. He completed the QRC again and noticed that the APU was still operating. At 1820:11, the captain turned off the APU; the emergency lights subsequently activated.

Starting from the time at which the captain made the evacuation call, the evacuation took approximately 2 minutes and 23 seconds. Starting from the time at which the left over-wing exit was opened, it took 3 minutes and 9 seconds.

An FA who was stationed at the rear of the aircraft received minor hand injuries.

Once outside, the initial wave of evacuated passengers moved toward the satellite terminal in the area of Gate A4, which is located on the north side of the apron, and other passengers followed.

The ARFF response time was 3 minutes and 22 seconds. When ARFF arrived on scene, the fire in the Sunwing aircraft’s tail and APU had subsided and was smouldering. As ARFF extinguished the remnants of the fire, a firefighter received minor injuries from exposure to secondary spray of water that was mixed with fuel from the APU.


NTSB Identification: DCA18WA075
14 CFR Part 129: Foreign
Accident occurred Friday, January 05, 2018 in Toronto, Canada
Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration:
Injuries: Unavailable

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada has notified the NTSB of an accident involving a Boeing 737, which occurred on January 5, 2018. The NTSB has appointed a U.S Accredited Representative to assist under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13, as the State of Manufacture and Design of the airplane.

All investigative information will be released by the TSB.

1 comment:

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