OAN’s Noah Herring
5:21 PM – Monday, June 19, 2023
A subsidiary of American Airlines was given a $15,625 fine by federal safety regulators over the death of a ground crew worker who was sucked into the engine of their plane.
Courtney Edwards, 34, was sucked into a plane engine at an Alabama airport on New Year’s Eve prompting the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to fine Piedmont Airlines after investigators found it responsible for the death of the mother-of-three at Montgomery Regional Airport.
After an investigation was launched by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), it was found that Edwards was “ingested into the engine” while walking “on the ramp at Montgomery Regional Airport where American Airlines Flight 3408, an Embraer E175, was parked.”
The NTSB found that the ground crew at Montgomery held two safety briefings 10 minutes before the plane arrived at the gate. In this meeting, employees were informed that they should not approach the aircraft until the engine and beacon light was turned off.
After the flight arrived, the pilot was alerted that the front cargo door was being unlocked as he started to shut down the right engine. Footage then showed Edwards walking towards the plane with an orange safety cone. In the video, Edwards suddenly disappears and it was clear what had happened.
The co-pilot reported that the plane then “shook violently, followed by the immediate automatic shutdown.”
A GoFundMe was started to help Edwards’ three children. The donations have risen to more than $120,000, which is more than four times its initial goal of $25,000.
After the event, American Airlines released a statement saying, “We are devastated by the accident involving a team member of Piedmont Airlines, an American Airlines regional carrier, at Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM).”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and our local team members.”
“We are focused on ensuring that all involved have the support they need during this difficult time,” the company stated.
A statement was released by Edwards’ union, the Communication Workers of America, saying that Osha found the airline at fault for “lack of effective training, clear and unambiguous communication on the ramp, and clear instructions from supervisors as to when it is safe to approach an aircraft.”
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