An airline has been reportedly fined $15,625 (£12,197) after a worker was sucked into a plane engine and died.
The horrific incident took place at an Alabama airport on New Year’s Eve, as per the New York Post. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration ordered the fine against Piedmont Airlines, a regional subsidiary of American Airlines, after suggesting it was a safety breach that led to Courtney Edwards' death.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed the mother-of-three was "ingested into the engine" as she was "on the ramp at Montgomery Regional Airport where American Airlines Flight 3408, an Embraer E175, was parked."
Ahead of the accident, the Montgomery Airport conducted two safety briefings alerting employees to not approach the plane until the engine and beacon light were switched off, according to the NTSB.
The pilot was alerted that the front cargo was being opened as he was shutting down the right engine. He then reportedly noted that the "airplane shook violently followed by the immediate automatic shutdown".
A memo to union members (via Dallas Morning News) read: "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."
A GoFundMe page was also set up to help Edwards' three children, with over $120,000 as of Monday.
"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," president of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the organiser of the fundraiser wrote. "Please know that this tragedy has and will affect her mother, family, friends, and kids for years to come."
American Airlines later released a widely reported statement that read: "We are devastated by the accident involving a team member of Piedmont Airlines, an American Airlines regional carrier, at Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM)."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and our local team members."
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