An airline worker who died in a Dec. 31 incident at an Alabama airport was exposed to multiple warnings about the dangers of being around running jet engines, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
A preliminary report shared by the agency Monday did not explicitly assign blame in the incident at Montgomery Regional Airport. He pointed to examples of when workers were warned to stay away from running jet engines when planes were grounded.
The employee, identified by the NTSB as a ramp agent for American Airlines’ commuter carrier American Eagle, was on the tarmac and had apparently set up a safety cone at the rear of the parked plane just before she was pushed into a engine and kill her. the agency said. The worker was not named in the NTSB report.
Communications Workers of America identified the employee as Courtney Edwards, 34, a mother of three from the area. The union and American Airlines said she worked for the regional subsidiary Piedmont Airlines.
The report outlines multiple points where the worker was directly warned or exposed to information about the dangers of being too close to the motors.
The report also noted cases in which two ramp officers saw workers getting too close to the plane and an engine, and tried to avoid them. In one, an officer saw a worker nearly fall from an engine exhaust and tried to warn her to stay behind, according to the NTSB report.
Before the plane arrived at his gate from Dallas-Fort Worth, there were two safety briefings for crew members, during which they were warned that the engines would stay running until power could be connected from the ground, he said. the NTSB.
Crew members were told no safety cones should be placed and ground crew should not be near the aircraft until the engines are shut down, the turbines stop turning, and a rotating beacon light is turned off. , according to the report.
An excerpt from the American Eagle ground operations manual that was included in the NTSB report echoed those points.
After placing the cone, which indicates the aircraft’s stationary state, the worker walked along the leading edge of its left wing, placing it directly in front of one of the Embraer 170’s two engines, according to the NTSB report.
During that walk across the wing, the employee got too close to the running engine and died, the NTSB said.
The rotating beacon light appeared to be on throughout the incident, according to the report.
American Airlines and Edwards’ mother did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Richard Honeycutt, regional vice president for the Communications Workers of America, said in a statement earlier this month: «She was away from her family working New Year’s Eve making sure passengers got where they needed to be for the holidays. She represents the very best of our CWA airport members, who constantly make sacrifices to serve the traveling public.»
The union spearheaded a crowdfunding page that has raised nearly $100,000 to support Edwards’ children.