O'Hare ramp instructor on stopping crazy cart: 'I was just doing my job'

  • An American Airlines employee used his vehicle to hit and stop an out-of-control beverage cart that nearly ran into a jet on a runway at O'Hare Airport.

    An American Airlines employee used his vehicle to hit and stop an out-of-control beverage cart that nearly ran into a jet on a runway at O'Hare Airport. courtesy of Kevin Klauer

 
 
Updated 10/2/2019 5:29 PM

The video seemed comical, but the situation was actually dangerous -- a heavy catering cart careening within an arm's length of workers and an airplane at O'Hare International Airport Tuesday morning.

Riding to the rescue came American Airlines ramp instructor Jorge Manalang, who stopped the rogue cart in spectacular fashion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

As employees darted out of the way, Manalang jumped on a push-back tug, a sturdy vehicle that tows planes, and rode it into the spinning cart. While water bottles exploded, the cart flipped over and came to a rest safely.

"I was just doing my job," Jorge said in a statement from American Airlines. "Safety is our No. 1 priority and I did not want anyone to get hurt, so I used the push-back to stop the cart."

Physician Kevin Klauer captured the mayhem with his smartphone and shared it in a Twitter post that drew thousands of views.

"Crazy event at ORD. Heads up safety move by a ramp worker," wrote Klauer, CEO of the American Osteopathic Association and a graduate of North Central College in Naperville.

The catering vehicle was loaded with beverages for a departing Embraer 140 aircraft.

American Airlines is still conducting a formal review of what made the cart go berserk, but it appears a case of water bottles tumbled onto the gas pedal and caused it to spin in reverse.

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Manalang has worked six years for Envoy Air Inc., a subsidiary of American Airlines.

"He not only prevented severe damage to the aircraft, but more importantly, he prevented what could have been serious injury to his fellow ramp employees or our customers onboard," Envoy Vice President Ricky Deane said.

A recognition in honor of Manalang's quick thinking is planned, officials said.

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