American Airlines has been fined $15,000 after an airport worker was sucked into one of its plane’s engines and killed. According to the New York Post, OSHA filed the $15,625 penalty against Piedmont Airlines, a regional subsidiary of American, after Courtney Edwards lost her life in a freak accident.
Edwards was working at Montgomery Regional Airport on December 31 when she was “ingested into the engine” of American Airlines Flight 3480, which was parked on the ramp. While employees had been warned not to approach the aircraft while the engine was being turned off, Edwards began approaching the front cargo and opening it as the right engine was being shut down.
Surveillance footage showed Edwards walking toward the back of the plane with an orange safety cone. She then steps out of frame and that’s the last time she’s seen before being sucked into the engine. The co-pilot reportedly told authorities that the “airplane shook violently followed by the immediate automatic shutdown,” per the New York Post.
OSHA later found that American Airlines failed to create “a place of employment which was free from recognized hazards that were causing or were likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees that were exposed to ingestion and jet blast hazards,” per the Communication Workers of America (CWA).
Edwards’ supporters were unhappy with the relatively small fine and said they’ll continue to seek justice for the mother of three.
“Despite the small penalty, it is likely Piedmont will contest the decision, and CWA will continue to fight for Courtney Edwards, her family, and the safety of all airline workers, who should never fear for their lives on the job,” read a statement to union members, per the Dallas Morning News.
A GoFundMe was launched following Edwards’ untimely death to raise money for funeral costs as well as to support her children through this difficult time. At the time of writing, donations have exceeded $123,000.