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A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) review of a New Year’s Eve incident, in which a ground crew worker was killed at an airport in Montgomery, Alabama, after being sucked into the engine of a plane, says the aircraft “shook violently” as it shut off with a “bang.”
The death involving a ramp agent for Piedmont Airlines – a subsidiary of American Airlines Group – happened at Montgomery Regional Airport shortly after an Embraer 170 plane operated by Envoy Air landed with 63 passengers on board, the NTSB said.
The ramp agent has since been identified as Courtney Edwards, 34, a mother of three.
According to the preliminary report, the aircraft had an inoperative auxiliary power unit. The captain asked for it to be connected to ground power and opted to “leave both engines running for the required two-minute engine cool down period.”
As the plane’s right engine was shutting down, the captain was informed that the plane’s front cargo door had opened. The first officer “opened his cockpit window to inform the ramp agent that the engines were still operating,” the report says.
“Immediately thereafter, he saw a warning light illuminate and the airplane shook violently followed by the immediate automatic shutdown of the number 1 [left] engine,” the report says. “Unsure of what had occurred, he extinguished the emergency lights and shut off both batteries before leaving the flight deck to investigate.”
The NTSB said Edwards was “walking along the leading edge of the left wing and directly in front of the number one engine” before she was “subsequently pulled off her feet and into the operating engine.”
“Throughout the course of the accident, the airplane’s upper rotating beacon light,” which warns ground crews of ongoing engine activity, “appeared to be illuminated,” the NTSB said.
Ramp agents were informed during two safety briefings prior to the plane’s arrival that “the engines would remain running until ground power was connected,” the report states
“It was also discussed that the airplane should not be approached, and the diamond of safety cones should not be set until the engines were off, spooled down, and the airplane’s rotating beacon light had been extinguished by the flight crew,” the report continues.
Alabama airline worker was sucked into engine with 'bang,' plane filled with passengers shook violently: NTSBhttps://t.co/hTGnY44hWa
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) January 24, 2023
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