The flight crew of MEA Middle East Airlines airplane OD-MEA was about to leave stand H12 of Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
A tractor and a tow bar were coupled to the aircraft for the pushback. During the manoeuvre, the tractor driver tried to align the aircraft on the centre line of the movement area. The aircraft overshot the centre line and stopped in an off‑centre position, with the nose gear misaligned.
The crew of MEA Middle East Airlines airplane OD-MEA started engine n° 1, which then stabilized at ground idle RPM.
After about a minute, the tractor driver tried to pull the aircraft forward in order to align the nose gear wheels with the centre line. Almost simultaneously, the crew started engine no 2. As the tractor driver pulled MEA Middle East Airlines airplane OD-MEA forward, the tractor lost grip when driving over ice.
The aircraft continued to move forward, pushing the tractor. Via his wired connection to the crew, the ground agent requested that they put on the parking brake. The aircraft continued to move forward. The tractor skidded to the left. The pins on the tow bar broke and the tractor hit the side of the fuselage.
The crew braked and the aircraft slowed to a stop.
When the investigators arrived, ice was still present in the area where the tractor skidded. The METAR at 10 h 00 stated: METAR LFPG 171000Z 31008KT 9999 FEW016 M01/M03 Q1000 764///71 264///70 774///75 274///73 NOSIG
The accident was caused by a pushback manoeuvre on icy ground.
The following contributed to the accident:
- Insufficient prevention measures and/or treatment of ground ice;
- The particular configuration of aircraft stand H12 which leaves little room for pushback;
- Difficulties in understanding between the ground personnel and the flight crew.