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Woman severely injured by airplane propeller

Published: 13 Nov 2011 10:36 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Nov 2011 10:36 GMT+01:00

A woman in her seventies suffered life-threatening injuries when hit by a propeller. The accident occurred on Saturday at Viared's air field outside Borås, in southern Sweden.

The woman was standing on the ground, waiting to receive a private plane which friends of hers were flying. For reasons unknown, the woman was hit by the plane's propeller after landing.

The woman was initially taken to Södra Älvsborg's hospital, but from there moved to Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg. According to a statement made on Saturday by Södra Älvsborg's hospital her condition was life-threatening.

Sahlgrenska was unwilling to comment on her condition on Sunday.

The plane was standing still and running idle when the accident occurred.

"When you turn off the motor, you follow a check list, and at that time the pilot might not have full attention to what's happening outside the plane," Börje Gustavsson, vice chairman of Borås's flying association, who run the air field in Viared, said to news agency TT.

"I saw out of the corner of my eye that someone came in diagonally from left towards the plane, and walked right into the propeller."

According to Börje Gustavsson, the entire air field has signs showing pedestrians where to go.

"Somehow something's gone wrong. Unfortunately this isn't the first time something like this happens in flight situations."

One of the flying association's members is a doctor, who performed first aid on the injured woman, who is in her seventies.

The accident is now being investigated by police, but may end up on the desk of the Swedish Accident Investigation Board (Haverikommissionen).

TT/The Local/cg (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:51 November 13, 2011 by muscle
the lady got sucked towards the propeller? hmm i hope she is doing good now!
15:46 November 13, 2011 by SockRayBlue
"For reasons unknown"? She walked into a moving propeller! At 70 years old some things are not as obvious and knowing that the ol' girl literally should have been on a leash.
15:52 November 13, 2011 by Eagle63
Was the prop damaged?
16:10 November 13, 2011 by Rishonim
Since when does US Airways fly's to Båras? I wonder why don't they use a picture of SAS or Even Malmö aviation would be more credible. I don't think US Airways would like a picture of one of their planes being associated with an accident in Sweden.
20:20 November 13, 2011 by Atlas
@Rishonim...US Airways fly to Borås since The Local decided to use Flickr for stock photo...
21:49 November 13, 2011 by skogsbo
she could have easily thought it was a single engined plane and walked in from the side, not seeing the still spinning blades. Unless the tips are marked, they would be invisible when glanced at quickly, especially if she was trying to look inside the planes passenger windows for her friends.
23:57 November 13, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
It is good to see that not everyone believes what they see!

It sounds like TheLocal just needed a picture of an airplane PROPELLER and they foolishly chose one that totally confuses the issue. They chose a picture from a COMMERCIAL airline which IMHO - could sue TheLocal for misidentifying the accident with THEIR AIRLINE.

Commercial Airlines like the one pictured would not allow "civilians" on the tarmac until the aircraft was "secure".

From reading - "a private plane which friends of hers were flying" it sounds like a single engine aircraft "PRIVATE" aircraft was involved.

When I am idling, and people walk to toward the front of my aircraft - I GO BALLISTIC! There is no more helpless feeling than seeing someone walking directly towards your aircraft with NO time to shut it down.

I make sure my passengers and their waiting friends understand to stay away from the aircraft until the engine stops. Even more scary is when helicopter passengers walk towards the rear end of the helicopter. Always walk away from the helicopter from the front.

I am amazed that she was allowed on the tarmac in the first place. Even more amazing is that she survived at all.

Just a note the she would NOT have been "SUCKED IN" by the propeller.
01:32 November 14, 2011 by muscle
@DamnImmigrant:

I am not a pilot, but i was just wondering, if a person can be pulled towards the properller?
08:49 November 14, 2011 by Rick Methven
The aircraft that hit her was most probably either a Piper Archer III or a Tecnam P2002JF the types of aircraft owned by Borås Flygklubb who run the airport.

As the runway is only 800m (2600 ft) a larger twin Turbo prop such as the SAAB-340 ( pictured) could not land
09:35 November 14, 2011 by PDX
If it was a single-propeller Piper or Tecnam, then this is truly bizarre indeed as it is quite incomprehensible how one could walk into the front propeller of the (small but noisy) plane.

Could well be she was disorientated due to a mild stroke or another condition.
09:37 November 14, 2011 by Åskar
@skogsbo, It was a single engine plane and she was so eager to take a photo of her relatives that had travelled with it that she simply forgot her surroundings.
11:42 November 14, 2011 by Rick Methven
You can give birthday gifts where these flying clubs take somebody up for a flight for an hour or so and let you get your hands on the controls straight and level.

Normally non flight personnel are not allowed on the tarmac when an aircraft is taxiing or the engine is running to avoid accidents like this. The prop must have been slowing down with the engine off otherwise the woman would have had her head chopped off. poor light and poor eyesight could have fooled her into thinking the prop had stopped. Often these piston props give a last kick when they stop.
00:04 November 15, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
Hi @muscle and thanks for the question. The short answer is no, people cannot be pulled (sucked) into the propeller.

Mind you that I am talking about "civilian" general aviation aircraft. All the accident reports are of people WALKING into the propeller. Interesting that serious injuries can occur even by walking into a propeller that is not moving (those buggers have sharp edges - been there, done that). These "propeller in motion" accidents occur when the aircraft is idling and therefore not pulling "massive amounts of air" through the prop. Suction is basically nonexistent at idle.

I am going to hazard a guess that if you stood 2 meters in front of a propeller running at maximum power that you would still NOT be sucked in. I would question whether there is even enough suction at 1 meter to draw in a human body. Then again who would be STUPID enough to even try such an act?

Maybe MYTHBUSTERS! - - - - - - Mythbusters could handle that one (FULL POWER DISTANCE SUCTION TEST). Hey MYTHBUSTERS - You listening out there?

The only thing I found interesting is that I was wrong in assuming death in these cases because it looks like these accident are only fatal about 40% of the time although serious injury was described in like 95% of them.

Actually @PDX, the woman did not need to be mentally impaired (stroke). These accidents occur due to ignorance, inattention and just plain carelessness. A spinning propeller is basically invisible. People who do not know the danger will walk right into it. This is why I always give a safety briefing to the my passengers and their friends. Propeller safety is NOT common sense.

Surprising how many pilots and other aircraft personnel, people who should know better, walk into spinning propellers because they loose their focus when their attention gets diverted elsewhere.
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