Event Details

Title:Broken ankle on landing, McDonnell Douglas MD-88, September 3, 1993
Micro summary:A flight attendant experienced an injured ankle due to standing while the McDonnell Douglas MD-88 was landing.
Event Time:1993-09-03 at 2214 EDT
File Name:1993-09-03-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:BFO93LA155
Site of event:Lexington, KY
Departure:Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Destination:Blue Grass, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Airplane Type(s):McDonnell Douglas DC-9-88 (MD-88)
Flight Phase:Landing
Operator(s):Delta Air Lines
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:1
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:

NTSB short summary:

The cabin attendant did not follow published procedures.

NTSB synopsis:

During a hard landing, a cabin attendant was standing in the airplane's aisle. When the airplane touched down, the cabin attendant's ankle twisted which resulted in a bone fracture. Review of the cockpit voice recorder revealed that the captain signaled to the cabincrew to prepare for landing about eight minutes and 37 seconds prior to the landing. The injured cabin attendant stated that he was out of his jumpseat preparing a galley for landing when he realized the airplane was close to the ground. The injured cabin attendant stated that he was on the way to his jumpseat when the airplane touched down. The digital flight data recorder revealed that the airplane touched down at 124 knots indicated airspeed with a vertical velocity of 10.7 Feet per second. The maximum vertical acceleration recorded at touch down was 2.5 G's. The airplane was not damaged and no other airplane occupants were injured.

NTSB factual narrative text:

On Friday, September 3, 1993, at 2214 eastern daylight time, a Douglas MD-88, N913DL, operated by Delta Air Lines of Atlanta, Georgia, as flight 978, and piloted by Carroll Kennedy of Roanoke, Texas, made a hard landing on runway 22 at the Blue Grass Airport, Lexington, Kentucky. The flightcrew was not injured. One of the four cabin crewmembers received a serious injury while standing in the aisle during the landing. The one hundred passengers were not injured. The airplane was not damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. A company instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed for the regularly scheduled passenger flight which originated from Atlanta, Georgia. The flight was operating under Federal Aviation Regulations Part 121.

The airplane's Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) were removed from the airplane and their contents were copied onto separate HF60 Sony cassettes. The cassettes were sent to the Safety Board and reviewed. The CVR revealed that after landing and while taxiing to the gate, a flight attendant reported to the Captain that another flight attendant was injured and that there was a paramedic (passenger) tending to the injured flight attendant. The flight attendant stated, "...[a flight attendant]in the back he was running back here when we were landing and right when we landed he fell on the floor and he's hurt his foot...."

The passengers and crew exited the airplane via a jetway and the injured flight attendant was taken to Saint Joseph's Hospital Emergency Care Unit in Lexington, Kentucky, for treatment. A nurse at the hospital stated that the flight attendant had a "fractured fibula."

The injured flight attendant stated, "We were finishing up our service when the seatbelt sign came on again, indicating we were preparing for landing. We had interrupted the service during the flight due to turbulence. We began preparing the galley and picking up the cabin. I noticed out of 1R porthole we were getting really close to the ground. I told [a flight attendant] to sit down and I headed back to the single aft jumpseat. I was moving quickly and thinking I had time to get there when I heard a loud popping noise and was knocked to the ground right by my jumpseat...."

The FDR revealed that the airplane touched down at 124 knots indicated airspeed and the vertical velocity was about 10.7 feet per second. The maximum vertical acceleration recorded at touch down was 2.5 G's. (For further airplane and pilot performance evaluation, see attached Specialist's Report of Investigation).

About eight minutes and 37 seconds prior to touch down, the CVR recorded the Captain stating that he was going to "double ding" the cabincrew. About one second later, the CVR recorded four clicking sounds and four chimes.

An excerpt from Delta Air Lines MD-88 Operating Manual under Normal Procedures, page 61, dated 9-1-93, states as an item for the approach checklist, "NO SMOKING LIGHT....CYCLED/ON...From the ON position, slowly cycle the NO SMOKING switch OFF to ON twice to produce a total of four chimes no later than 5 minutes prior to landing...No landing imminent PA will be made."

An excerpt from the Delta Air Lines In-Flight Service On-Board Manual , page 17, dated 4-28-93, states, "H. Landing eminent will be signaled by the Captain cycling the NO SMOKING sign twice. Upon the signal, the FAIC [Flight Attendant In Charge] will ensure the appropriate PA announcement is made.... I. Sit in assigned jumpseat for landing with seat belt and shoulder harness fastened...."
Learning Keywords:Operations - Bang, pop, crack, sizzle!
Consequence - Flight Attendant Fatality - Injury


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