On 4 March 2010, a Boeing 717-200 aircraft, registered VH-NXM, was being prepared to depart Ayers Rock, Northern Territory (NT) on a scheduled passenger flight to Cairns, Queensland (Qld).
At about 1500 Central Standard Time, the passengers had boarded the aircraft and the pilot in command instructed the cabin crew to close the aircraft doors. The cabin crew member allocated to the forward left door had difficulty unlatching the door, so the cabin crew member allocated to the forward right door came to assist. The assisting cabin crew member placed one foot outside the aircraft onto the portable stairs to assist with closing the door. At this point, ground personnel commenced moving the portable stairs and the assisting cabin crew member fell through the open door onto the apron. The cabin crew member sustained a fractured left arm, a sprained right wrist and some other minor injuries.
The aircraft operator and ground handling agent advised the ATSB that as a result of this occurrence, the ground handling agent has issued an interim procedure, which includes increased safety checks to ensure that the aircraft's doors are closed prior to the removal of the portable stairs.