A Jet Bridge at the San Francisco Airport Is Under Investigation After Collapsing

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: May 08, 2024

A massive accident at the San Francisco airport has called for an intense investigation.

A walkway to a jet collapsed on Thursday evening in the middle of allowing passengers to disembark a flight from Hawaii Airlines.

Incoming Flight From Maui in for a Surprise

According to FlightAware, Hawaiian Airlines flight 42 from Kahului, Maui, arrived at International Terminal A after being received at the well-known SFO airport.

A large white plane with a colorful tail on the ground of an airport

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The flight landed just outside of the city of San Francisco at 6:52 p.m.

No Issues in the Early Stages of Landing

The plane had no issues landing on the runway or taxiing to the terminal with a full load of passengers.

A large white plane takes off from an airport tarmac with multiple smaller white planes on the ground

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After reaching the intended terminal, the jet bridge began pointing towards the plane to match the doorway.

Structural Failure Soon Recorded

The crew working at the SFO airport soon had issues when attempting to position the jet bridge.

A split image of a white plane with a broken jet walk way on one side and another with the tip of a white plane and two men working on the ground

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The workers soon reported a “structural failure” when a metal strut suddenly collapsed onto the plane’s floor. A spokesperson for the SFO airport, Doug Yakel, issued the press release on Friday morning.

Passengers Were Able to Safely Deplane

Outside of the intense incident with the jet bridge, the 179 passengers on flight 42 could safely get off the plane using the rear door.

A white plan with the word Hawaiian displayed on the side while a number of guests board from the tarmac up the stairs of the plane

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Alex Da Silva, a spokesperson for Hawaiian Airlines, told USA TODAY that the guests and six crew members could safely and orderly get off the plane.

The Plane Also Suffered Damage

In addition to the jet bridge collapse, the plane was also affected by the damage and will require some repairs.

A single white plane sits on a tarmac in front of a several cars full of baggage and a flight bridge

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Da Silva noted that the aircraft must be taken in for safety upgrades and some body work before being returned to regular service.


Expert Witnesses Called For Comment

Bonnie Hayes, a former American Airlines gate agent, worked with jet bridges for over 33 years and now serves as an expert witness for similar lawsuits.

A large airport with multiple levels and one small white plane in front

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She reported to USA TODAY that she had never seen the “cab of the jet bridge collapse.” Misfortunate accidents seem to be rare.


Some Speculate That the Airport Is To Blame for Malfunction

Hayes stated that the airport is responsible for performing basic maintenance tasks associated with jet bridges.

A view of the parking garage at the SFO airport

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The ongoing maintenance is meant to occur weekly or daily. However, some airports can get extremely busy and forgo needed safety checks in a rush.


Undue Stress on Standard Sections

The reason for the collapse is currently unknown; however, the stress on the bridge was likely due to disproportionate weight distribution when passengers load and unload.

A white United Airlines plane on a tarmac next to multiple airport vehicles

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The stress on sections of the bridge might have caused hardware to weaken over time.


Many Customers Are Uneasy About Air Travel

Due to the recent safety allegations against Boeing airplane manufacturers, many customers feel uneasy about flight travel.

A white FedEx plane with no front wheel crashed slightly onto black tarmac with four men standing next to the plane

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The Boeing manufacturer and its subsidiaries have been scrutinized for allegedly forgoing safety checks to speed up the construction of new planes.


Jet Bridge Will Be out of Commission for Some Time

Detailed information has been reported by the local paper SFGATE.

A white plane takes off from an illuminated tarmac next to a wide mountain range and a city scape

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An insider close to the action has told reporters that the bridge that experienced the mechanical failure will be out of commission for some time until crews can repair the hardware and pinpoint the cause of the problem.


Ongoing Investigations May Cause Delays at the Airport

The international wing of the San Francisco airport may experience delays in the coming days and weeks.

Several white planes sitting on tarmac outside of an airport

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The jet bridge served as an important piece of equipment at the busy airport. SFO averages about 44,885 travellers on a given day.