Aviation Investigation A18O0002
Ground collision on apron
On 5 January 2018, a WestJet Airlines Boeing 737-800 landed at Toronto-Lester B. Pearson International Airport, inbound from Cancun, and was waiting for ground crew to assist with parking. The aircraft was stopped, with the engines and auxiliary power unit (APU) running, on taxi-lane 2 on the north side of Pier B at Terminal 3. A Sunwing Airlines Inc. Boeing 737-800 was parked at Gate B13, being prepared to be towed to an alternate position on the infield. A Sunwing Airlines maintenance technician was in the cockpit and had the aircraft's APU running. Two Swissport International ground personnel were in the cab of the tow vehicle, and were informed by the North Apron Communications Officer via radio to push the Sunwing aircraft back at their discretion. The aircraft under tow began to move back and its APU contacted the right wing of the stationary WestJet aircraft. A fire rapidly ensued.
The WestJet flight crew immediately commenced the required steps for an evacuation, and an evacuation was ordered shortly after. The Swissport tow vehicle operator pulled the Sunwing aircraft back towards the gate to separate the two aircraft. All WestJet passengers were safely evacuated using slides on the front and rear left doors, the front right door and the over-wing exits on the left side. The maintenance technician aboard the Sunwing aircraft exited the left cockpit window using the emergency rope and sustained minor injuries.
Aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) equipment and personnel arrived at the scene and extinguished the fire. The Sunwing aircraft sustained substantial damage.
Map of the area
Ken Webster joined the TSB team in 2005, and works as a Regional Senior Investigator (Air) out of the Ontario office. Mr. Webster has been investigator-in-charge in numerous TSB investigations, and assisted in several others, involving airplane, helicopter and air traffic control. Prior to the TSB he worked in civil aviation for 20 years, in several different capacities. As a pilot, Mr. Webster has flown numerous aircraft types throughout Canada and the US.
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Transportation Safety Board investigation process
There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation:
- Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
- Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
- Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.
For more information, see our Investigation process page.
Air Transportation Safety Investigation Report A18O0002
Ground collision, fire, and evacuation
WestJet Airlines Ltd., Boeing 737-800, C-FDMB
Sunwing Airlines Inc., Boeing 737-800, C-FPRP
Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Ontario
05 January 2018
Investigation report: January 2018 ground collision, fire and evacuation on apron at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Toronto
Read the news release
TSB deploys a team of investigators following a collision between 2 aircraft at the Toronto Pearson Airport, Ontario
Read the deployment notice
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