Towed plane and bus collide at LAX, sending four people to the hospital

American Airlines Airbus A321 was taxiing on 25R when they collided with a passenger bus.
American Airlines Airbus A321 was taxiing on 25R when it collided with a passenger bus. Five people were injured.

Five people were injured at Los Angeles International Airport when a jet and a shuttle bus collided on the tarmac Friday night, sending four of those people to the hospital.

It was the latest in a string of recent accidents and near misses at U.S. airports that have left some travelers rattled.

So far, it’s unclear how the two large, slow-moving vehicles collided at LAX around 10 p.m. without anybody preventing it. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating, according to a spokesman.


In a statement, American Airlines said the bus “made physical contact with an American Airlines aircraft being towed from a gate to a remote parking location on the airfield.”

The bus was operated by ABM, a contractor, according to the airline. The company could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.

There were no passengers on the plane at the time of the collision. An airline employee who was on-board was treated at the scene but declined transport to the hospital, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The bus driver and two passengers on the shuttle were transported to the hospital in fair condition after the “low-speed” collision, according to the LAFD.

The driver of the tug that was towing the jet was transported to the hospital in “moderate” condition.

The incident comes less than a week after a FedEx cargo jet nearly landed on top of a Southwest passenger plane taking off in Austin, Texas.


The two planes were about to collide when the FedEx pilots recognized the emergency and steered away to avoid disaster. The two planes were about 100 feet apart at one point.

“I’m very proud of the FedEx flight crew and that pilot,” Jennifer Homendy, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, told CNN. “They saved, in my view, 128 people from a potential catastrophe.”

Last month at New York’s Kennedy Airport, air traffic controllers had to tell a Delta flight to abort its take-off after an American Airlines plane crossed dangerously close in front of it.

The incident at LAX wasn’t nearly as high-stakes. But photos online show the windshield of the shuttle bus smashed and and a long, black skid mark from one of the jet’s tires.

An FAA spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for the number of similar injury accidents at U.S. airports in the last year.

Heath Montgomery, an LAX spokesman, said, “It doesn’t happen very often and it’s not supposed to.”


“I’ve been here for four years, I can count two, maybe three injury accidents, usually it’s shuttle on shuttle,” Montgomery said.

Airplanes always have the right of way and all other vehicles are expected to yield to them, Montgomery said.