Mechanic Errors May Be to Blame for Jet Oops

Miscommunication between mechanics may have caused the landing-gear collapse that severely damaged an American Airlines jumbo jet in Fort Worth, airline sources and federal officials said Monday. first reported the incident last week, after obtaining pictures from the scene at Alliance Airport. The photos show a Boeing 767 on its nose after the front landing gear folded up, dumping the plane onto the ground.

It now appears that mechanics in the cockpit pulled the lever that retracts the landing gear, not realizing that other mechanics failed to put a pin in the gear to prevent it from actually retracting while the plane was on the ground.

The damage was so bad, it prompted the union that represents American's pilots to issue a statement to its members, saying the plane, "may not be repairable."

But the airline denied that claim on Monday.

Company spokesman Tim Wagner said the airline consulted with a team of experts from Boeing and now believes the plane can be fixed. Wagner described the damage as "extensive" but would not say how much repairs would cost.

The FAA plans to monitor the repairs to ensure that the plane is safe to fly.

Denny Kelly, a veteran aviation safety consultant, described the incident as extremely embarrassing for the airline.

He said employees may lose their jobs over it.

"You're dealing with human beings, and humans make mistakes, it's just that simple," he said.

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