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China Airlines Flight Goes Bowling For Baggage Carts

Snowy Conditions, Overshot Turn Leads to Ingested Baggage

A China Airlines 747-400F made a show out of its taxiing this week, as the Flight CI5240 appeared to cut a corner a little too wide, passing its left wing over and through a number of waiting baggage carts.

The plane's engine number 1 sucked in a cart, and the left side of the aircraft was damaged. Engines 1 and 2, the gear door, and the engine cowling all came out the other side of the turn worse for wear. 

The Chicago O'Hare had received more than 3 inches of snow on the night of the incident, with some portions of Illinois seeing more than 10 inches total. Quickly accumulating snow, low visibility, and a little extra taxi speed seem to be the recipe for a slipping and sliding 747. The apparent understeer brought to mind teenage parking lot hooning in freshly fallen snow, aside from the 747.

According to the China Airlines' Corporate Communications Office, flight CI5240's path was caused by heavy snow and a slippery taxiway, with additional investigation underway. 

While online tracking systems may not be entirely accurate in terms of placing an aircraft from start to finish, the ground track of the flight does show the brief moment it strayed, swinging wide from taxiway sierra onto the southeast cargo ramp. With a possible build up of snow, a little too much speed, rolling from a taxiway into an ambiguous expanse of concrete, it is somewhat understandable for the centerline to be lost in the shuffle. While investigation will continue onwards, it seems probable that each aspect of the error chain built up to incident. 



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