Ryanair told to 'review' safety procedures

Air Accident Investigators said that Ryanair should review procedures after a three-year-old child fell on to the tarmac while boarding a plane at Stansted Airport.

The little girl, Olga, escaped with only minor injuries after falling through the gap between the handrail and the platform to the Boeing 737's boarding steps in July last year - her mum had been carrying another of her children at the time.

Olga was airlifted to hospital and was released 24 hours later.

The AAIB recommended that Ryanair review its current passenger boarding and disembarkation procedures "so that assistance is made available to passengers accompanied by children and those with special needs''.

Today's report into what happened on July 17 2009, said: 'The gap between the extendable handrail and the upper platform of the Boeing 737 airstairs represents a hazard to small children boarding or disembarking the aircraft.'

The AAIB said there had been four previously-reported similar incidents involving small children and this had led to American aviation authorities issuing a special airworthiness information bulletin; the amendment of the Boeing 737 flight attendant manual and the release of two special safety bulletins.

The AAIB said it was making the safety recommendation to Boeing about the airstairs design as the special bulletins 'do not provide physical protection against a child falling through the gap'.

Also, the AAIB said modification proposed by Ryanair after last summer's incident provided, 'only a limited physical protection against falling.'

Ryanair's responded giving Heart the following statement:

Ryanair has reviewed its procedures as recommended by the AAIB report into this incident, which took place over a year ago. New procedures including new high visibility tensa barriers, and specific announcements to passengers travelling with young children on both boarding and disembarkation have also been introduced in order to eliminate any recurrence of these extremely rare events in the context of over 1 million Ryanair flights over the past 2 years.