Posted by on January 25, 2023 1:48 pm
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Ground handler appeared to ignore warnings before being sucked into plane engine

American Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig/AP

Ground handler appeared to ignore warnings before being sucked into plane engine

Luke Gentile January 25, 01:06 PMJanuary 25, 01:06 PM Video Embed

A female ground handler who died after she was “violently” sucked into an airplane engine at an Alabama airport had been warned multiple times to maintain distance from the aircraft, federal investigators said.

Courtney Edwards, a 34-year-old mother of three, died New Year’s Eve at Montgomery Regional Airport when she was swept off her feet and into the engine of an Embraer 175 jet, according to a report.

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Edwards worked as a ground handling agent with Piedmont Airlines, an American Airlines subsidiary.

Right before the incident, Edwards had been informed more than once to avoid the aircraft until its engines had been shut down, the National Transportation Safety Board said in its preliminary report released Monday.

The pilot of the Envoy Air, an affiliate of American Airlines, flight from Dallas even leaned out his window to instruct one ground crew member to stay away, the report noted.

Edwards appeared to ignore the advice and walked in front of the engine with an orange cone, which resulted in her being “pulled off her feet and into the operating engine,” the preliminary report read.

The “airplane shook violently followed by the immediate automatic shutdown,” according to the co-pilot.

Engines on the plane had been kept running for a two-minute cool-down period as the pilots waited to be connected to ground power, the report noted.

The NTSB also determined that 10 minutes before the flight arrived, ground crew members were required to attend a safety meeting, which was then followed by an additional safety “huddle,” according to the report.

They were told the “engines would remain running,” and engines would not be safe to approach until the plane’s beacon light was shut off.

Rotating beacons did appear to be lit during the incident, the NTSB found, and one co-worker had even tried to wave Edwards off.

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Finally, the revised American Eagle manual states that workers are not to approach within 15 feet of an engine’s “ingestion zone” until the blades have completely stopped spinning.

An investigation into Edwards’s death is ongoing, the report noted.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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