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Canada’s Transportation Safety Board has confirmed several details about an on-ground collision between two Boeing 737-800 aircraft operated by WestJet and Sunwing Airlines at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The WestJet aircraft landed at Pearson on Jan. 5, 2018, inbound from Cancun, Mexico, and was waiting for ground crew to assist with parking, the TSB said in a report posted to its website.
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.
The Sunwing aircraft was parked at Gate B13, being prepared to be towed to an alternate position on the infield. A Sunwing maintenance technician was in the cockpit and had the aircraft’s APU running, the TSB said.
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 TSB said.
The aircraft under tow began to move back and its APU contacted the right wing of the stationary WestJet aircraft, the TSB said. A fire rapidly ensued.
WestJet flight crew immediately began steps for an evacuation, and an evacuation was ordered shortly after.
The Swissport tow vehicle operator pulled the Sunwing aircraft back toward the gate to separate the two aircraft, the TSB said.
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 an emergency rope and sustained minor injuries, the TSB said.
Aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) equipment and personnel arrived at the scene and extinguished the fire.
The Sunwing aircraft sustained “substantial damage,” said the TSB. WestJet is evaluating the damage to its aircraft.
TSB personnel continue to investigate the matter.