A young single mother of three was killed after she was struck by the wing of an airplane while she was operating a lawnmower at a small airport in Oklahoma. Samantha Hayes, 27, was operating the lawnmower at the Broken Bow Airport around 3:30 p.m. on a Friday when a 1972 Beechcraft Bonanza A36 plane landed, as reported by KFOR.
The pilot, 70-year-old James Baxter, became aware of Hayes and attempted to take off in an effort to avoid colliding with her. Unfortunately, he was unable to gain altitude quickly enough, resulting in a wing striking Hayes in the head, leading to fatal injuries, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Death on the Runway
Authorities confirmed that Hayes was pronounced dead at the scene due to the severe head injuries she sustained.
It remains unclear whether Hayes worked at the airport. Broken Bow is believed to be a relatively less populated municipal airport without air traffic control, which means pilots self-announce their landings and takeoffs on the radio. The airport has a 3,200-foot runway.
Given that she was fatally injured at the airport, charges have been filed, officials said.
Following the tragic incident, Hayes' friends expressed their grief and sorrow, sharing emotional messages and memories of her on Facebook.
"Samantha Hayes was a wonderful great mom to her 3 babies! She was a single mom who worked hard to give them a safe and loving home! These babies knew they were loved every day all day!" Darlene Tadleigh wrote.
"Them babies will know how much their momma loved them. We never know when these things are gonna happen but they can and for her it did," she wrote.
"God knew [h]is plan for her and it's hard for us to process because she was still needed here but his ways are higher than our ways even when it's hard to understand," she added.
Mourning Her Tragic Death
Others too paid tribute to the single mom-of-three. Carley Hayes wrote: "You was one of the sweetest people I've ever met, I've never heard you say a cuss word or talk down on anyone. You was so full of life and had a whole life ahead of you with your precious babies."
"You've got a whole family that's gonna make sure them babies are good I promise."
"I am so mad and upset I just don't understand at all. You was literally my best friend and I'm so thankful for all of the memories we have I just feel like they wasn't enough," Hayes added.
Baxter, the pilot involved in the incident, did not sustain any injuries. The FAA does not impose age limits for people to fly planes, although commercial airlines are restricted from hiring pilots over the age of 65.
As of now, no additional details about Baxter have been disclosed, and there have been no reports of charges being filed against him in relation to the tragic event.
The incident is still under investigation.