According to the New York Post, federal safety officials have ordered Piedmont Airlines, a regional subsidiary of American Airlines, to pay a $15,625 fine following the December 31 death of a crew member who was pulled into a plane engine.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the deadly incident occurred while Courtney Edwards, a mother of three, was working at the Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama.
Piedmont Airlines was fined after the Occupational Health and Safety Administration deemed it responsible for a safety violation that resulted in Edwards’ death. The deceased 34-year-old lady was “on the ramp at Montgomery Regional Airport where American Airlines Flight 3408, an Embraer E175, was parked” when she was “ingested into the engine,” according to an inquiry conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The NTSB report also claimed that two safety meetings were held prior to the plane’s arrival to caution the crew not to approach the jet because its engines would not be turned off once it landed, according to WHSV.
The report stated that the flight crew allowed the aircraft’s engines to run for a required two-minute “engine cool down period” when the plane ultimately landed. However, as the captain initiated the process of shutting down the plane’s right engine, a cockpit alert showed the front cargo door was being opened. The fatal incident occurred not too long after.
According to the PEOPLE, Edwards, 34, was seen in security footage of the incident holding an orange safety cone and making her way to the back of the plane. She, on the other hand, vanished at one point and perished after being sucked into the plane engine.
The Communication Workers of America, Edwards’ union, said in a statement that the OSHA determined the airline was responsible due to “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,” according to the New York Post.
A GoFundMe that was set up for Edwards’ children following her death has so far raised over $120,000, surpassing the initial $25,000 goal. “Courtney was a Ground Handling agent for Piedmont Airlines – a subsidiary of American Airlines, a loving mother of 3 kids and a wonderful daughter to her beloved mother,” the GoFundMe that was set up for Edwards stated. “Please know that this tragedy has and will affect her mother, family, friends, and kids for years to come.”