Boeing 747-4Q8, G-VTOP, 16 November 2004

Boeing 747-4Q8, G-VTOP


Loading of the rear cargo hold prior to flight had been completed. The operator of the high lift loader lowered the platform to enable him to raise the door locks. He then raised the platform again, to level with the hold door sill, and entered the hold to check the stops and locks were all in the correct positions. When in the hold he heard a crushing noise behind him. He returned to the doorway to find that the platform had risen upwards and damaged the cargo door frame and an adjacent cargo bin. He shouted for help and attracted the attention of a colleague who activated the emergency stop button of the high loader. An investigation into the accident carried out by the airline determined that when the high loader operator had released the control switch used to raise the platform it did not return to neutral as it was designed to do, but remained latched in the ‘up’ position. The platform had probably continued to rise at a slower than normal operating speed, such that the operator had not noticed it was still going up when he stepped into the hold. Since the accident all the high loader vehicles operated by the ground handling company have been modified to incorporate an override switch which must be engaged before the platform lift function can be activated.

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Published 10 December 2014