American Airlines Fined $15K after Mom of Three Died When Sucked into Plane's Engine on New Year's Eve

As per the NTSB report, surveillance footage indicated that Edwards was seen walking toward the rear of the plane while carrying an orange safety cone.

An American Airlines subsidiary has been hit with a fine of $15,000 by federal safety regulators after an airline worker died when she was so violently 'ingested' into the engine of a landed plane it shook the entire aircraft.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration fined Piedmont Airlines after investigators found that it was responsible for a safety lapse that resulted in the death of Courtney Edwards, a mother of three, at Montgomery Regional Airport on December 31. The findings of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) contradict the initial report provided by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Fined for Safety Breach

Courtney Edwards
Courtney Edwards Twitter

The NTSB report primarily held Edwards responsible for her death, claiming that she was fatally injured when she approached the engine of an Embraer E175 aircraft operated by American Eagle and got too close to it.

However, 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."

According to the report from the NTSB, it was revealed that the ground crew at the Montgomery airport conducted two safety briefings just 10 minutes prior to the arrival of the Dallas-Fort Worth-bound aircraft operated by American Eagle.

During these briefings, employees were extensively instructed not to approach the aircraft until the engine was shut off and the beacon light was turned off.

The NTSB report, cited by the Dallas Morning News, highlighted that after the flight landed in Montgomery, the pilot received an alert that the front cargo door was being opened just as he was beginning to shut down the right engine.

As per the NTSB report, surveillance footage indicated that Edwards was seen walking toward the rear of the plane while carrying an orange safety cone.

In the chilling footage, Edwards is seen disappearing from view. According to the report, the tragedy took place a short while later.

The co-pilot stated that the "airplane shook violently followed by the immediate automatic shutdown."

Tragic and Shocking Death

Courtney Edwards
Courtney Edwards was an employee of Piedmont Airlines Twitter

Following the incident, a GoFundMe campaign was initiated with the aim of providing support to Edwards' three children. As of Friday, the campaign had exceeded its initial goal of $25,000, raising over $114,000, which is more than four times the target amount.

"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," according to the GoFundMe page.

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

Days after the tragic incident, American Airlines released a 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."

"We are focused on ensuring that all involved have the support they need during this difficult time," the company said.

In response to the incident, the Communication Workers of America, the union representing Edwards, issued a statement claiming that OSHA determined the airline to be at fault due to deficiencies in training, inadequate communication on the ramp, and a lack of clear instructions from supervisors regarding when it is safe to approach an aircraft.