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OSHA Blames American Airlines Subsidiary For Death Of Employee and Fines Airline $15K

Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) issued a $15,625 (AUD $$22,739) fine against Piedmont Airlines, the regional subsidiary of American Airlines, after the death of Courtney Edwards.

The mother-of-three died on December 31 after she was sucked into the aircraft’s engine in southwest Montgomery, Alabama.


The citation was Issued earlier this month to Piedmont Airlines over the Dec. 31, 2022 death at Montgomery Regional Airport, the OSHA records show.

“The worker, identified as Courtney Edwards was acting as a wing walker for an arriving aircraft when she walked directly in front of an idling turbofan engine and was sucked into the engine and was killed,”

according to OSHA

An Investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board found that Edwards, 34, was “ingested into the engine” while “on the ramp at Montgomery Regional Airport where American Airlines Flight 3408, an Embraer E175, was parked.”

The NTSB found that the ground crew at the Montgomery airport held two safety briefings 10 minutes before the plane, which ferried passengers to and from Dallas-Fort Worth, arrived at the gate.

Employees were told they should not approach the aircraft until the engine was shut off and a beacon light was turned off, according to the NTSB report.

After the flight arrived in Montgomery, the pilot was given an alert that the front cargo door was being opened just as he started to shut down the right engine.

Surveillance footage showed Edwards walking toward the plane’s rear while holding an orange safety cone, according to the NTSB report. In the video, Edwards disappears from view.

The aircraft was used to ferry people between the Alabama airport and Falls Fort Worth, Texas.

Courtney Edwards is survived by her mother, Natalie, and three daughters. The children have been placed under the care of her mother.

American Airlines has not released any statement.

A GoFundMe was launched to help Ms Edwards’ three children. As of Friday, it raised more than $US114,000 ($165,910) – more than four times its initial goal of $US25,000 ($36,383).

“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, Natalie English of Montgomery, Alabama,” the GoFundMe page reads.

“Please know that this tragedy has and will affect her mother, family, friends and kids for years to come.”

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Written by Darnell Simmons

Investigative Journalist, social analysis