MIRACLE ESCAPE; Judge Lashes Ryanair Safety Regulations after an Engineer Loses Arm in Jet Engine

Article excerpt

BUDGET airline Ryanair's safety procedures came under fire yesterday over an accident in which a technician almost died.

Aircraft engineer Keith Chaplin was nearly sucked into a spinning turbine while working on a Boeing 737.

The terrified technician managed to hold on to the grilles around the engine, but lost most of his right arm in the horrific accident.

Yesterday, Dublin District Court judge Sean McBride blasted Ryanair over a lack of safety regulations which would have prevented the accident.

The plane was undergoing low speed engine tests in a hangar at the airport in March last year just before the accident happened.

A team of four technicians began to move the Boeing out of the hangar and Keith Chaplin, from New Ross, Co Wexford, was told to walk between the engine and the plane.

Two pilots on board began powering up the engines and Mr Chaplin was sucked towards the turbine.

Fortunately, older Boeing 737 models have metal plates for directing air into the engines which prevented him from being dragged in completely.

Although the 27-year-old was lucky to escape he lost his right arm from the elbow down.

According to Boeing technicians, those working on engines should wear a harness to prevent them being sucked into the engines.

Boeing manuals also state that the engines should not be powered up when engineers are in the area and that workers should be in radio contact with the pilots.

While Keith Chaplin was wearing a radio communicator he could not contact the pilots because of the noise of the engines.

In court yesterday Ryanair pleaded guilty to four charges brought against it by the Health and Safety Authority.

The airline has been fined pounds 3,750 for breaches of occupational health and safety legislation in its operations at Dublin Airport. …