Engine Shutdown Led to 2005 Minneapolis Collision

A Northwest Airlines pilot's decision to shut down the left engine on a DC-9 was a "probable cause" for that jet's ground collision with an Airbus A319 in May 2005 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to a federal investigative report.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) took nearly two years to reach that conclusion about the incident, in which the DC-9 crashed into the Airbus at 16 miles per hour near a gate shortly after the DC-9 landed.

Not long after the DC-9 left Columbus, Ohio, for the Twin Cities, the NTSB said, the pilots were aware they had a problem with the right hydraulic system. Hydraulic systems power the landing gear, steering and braking.

The left hydraulic system was operating properly, the NTSB report said. When the captain shut off the left engine after the plane landed in the Twin Cities, the "airplane experienced a loss of steering and a loss of brakes," the NTSB said.

A second accident factor cited by the NTSB was the "fatigue fracture of the rudder shutoff valve which resulted in the loss of right-side hydraulic pressure."

The DC-9 and the A319 collided near a gate, and fuel poured into the DC-9 cockpit. The captain sustained serious injuries, and seven airline employees and passengers were treated for minor injuries. There were 94 passengers on the DC-9 and 39 passengers on the Airbus.

An Air Line Pilots Association spokesman said Tuesday that the union could not comment on the NTSB report.

Northwest spokesman Bill Mellon said Tuesday that Northwest developed an inspection procedure for its fleet relating to the rudder shutoff valve. He declined to comment on other aspects of the NTSB report.

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