Two injured as passenger boarding bridge collapses at new airport

Published October 10, 2018
A passenger boarding bridge lies collapsed at the Islamabad International Airport on Tuesday. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad
A passenger boarding bridge lies collapsed at the Islamabad International Airport on Tuesday. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad

RAWALPINDI: Six months after the multi-billion rupees Islamabad International Airport (IIA) was made operational, a passenger boarding bridge, commonly known as aerobridge, collapsed moments after it was disconnected from a plane early on Tuesday.

An employee of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and a private loader were injured.

CAA Director General Hassan Baig constituted a four-member board of inquiry to investigate the incident.

CAA constitutes four-member board to investigate incident and submit report by Oct 22

The board will be headed by CAA deputy director general Syed Amir Mehboob and assisted by Sadiqur Rehman, director project IIA expansion project; Omaidur Rehman Abbasi, airport manager Bacha Khan International Airport Peshawar (BKIAP), and Kamal Khan, senior director BKIAP.

When contacted, a CAA spokesperson said the aviation authority’s chief has ordered an inquiry into the incident to ascertain the circumstances under which the bridge had collapsed.

The board of inquiry has been directed to submit its report by Oct 22. The board will ascertain the cost of damage and also evaluate the performance and stability of other bridges to verify whether the bridge operator was qualified for the job.

The passenger bridge No 5 (enclosed elevated passageway which is extended from airport terminal gate to an airplane) collapsed moments after it was disconnected from Gulf Airlines flight (GFA-771) that started taxing to take off at about 7:30am on Tuesday.

A senior airport official told Dawn that Mohammad Mudassar, the bridge operator, was pulling it back after the Airbus 330 had been pushed for taxing when the bridge collapsed.

No airport handling staff was under the bridge otherwise it would have been the first major disaster at the new airport.

However, two luggage containers were damaged in the bridge collapse.

The injured operator was taken to the trauma centre where his condition was described to be stable. The loader, identified as Munir, who sustained minor injuries, was allowed to go home after being provided first aid.

Soon after the collapse of the bridge, CAA experts and engineers visited the scene, collected evidence and compiled a preliminary report.

The senior official at the airport said the apparent cause of the collapse of the bridge could be loose or wobbling pins ‘hooks’ or ‘pins’ connecting it to another portion that could not keep its balance and collapsed.

He did not rule out the possibility of the pins that connected the bridge’s parts with each other having wobbled during the last night thunderstorm.

The board will also verify the equipment’s past record for any use or general observation. The team will verify if proper maintenance and record keeping was available.

In another incident at the airport, three workers suffered minor injuries after falling down while repairing a false ceiling at level-one of the terminal building.

The injured were taken to the trauma centre where they were given first aid and sent home.

Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2018

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