Woman broke wrist after falling from steps up to plane

Department of Transport report finds collapsible handrail gave way at Dublin Airport

A woman broke her wrist after she fell from the top steps of a plane while disembarking in Dublin Airport.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) of the Department of Transport published a report on Wednesday into the incident that took place after a flight from Manchester arrived at Dublin Airport at 12.18pm on September 30th, last year.

Stobart Air, the airline which runs the Aer Lingus regional network, confirmed the incident at the time.

The report found the passenger had put her hand on the handrail for support and it collapsed back to the stowed position.


The woman then fell to the ground from the top of the aircraft’s steps.

She was brought to hospital where it was determined she suffered a fracture to her right wrist.

“The quick-release pin, which normally secured the collapsible handrail in the upright position, was found to be jammed in an unlocked condition,” the report said.

It said at the time of the incident no procedure was in place to check if the quick-release pin was working properly.

The findings concluded the probable cause was the sudden retraction of the handrail that was being used by the passenger as support while getting off the plane.

It did not make any safety recommendations as the aircraft manufacturer and operator had put in place new procedures.

The operator had introduced a check that the quick-release pin in the handrail locked correctly during normal operations.

A specific maintenance inspection of the handrail to check functionality has also been introduced.

The aircraft manufacturer told investigators that the “Cabin Crew Operational Manual” had been changed to ensure a check was done on the safety pin before boarding and disembarkation.

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty is Digital Features Editor and journalist with The Irish Times