Airport crew member ‘pulled into the engine’ of plane, report says

An NTSB report indicates several safety protocols not properly followed
The NTSB noted several safety protocols that do not appear to have been followed in the Dec. 31 deadly incident.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 9:45 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2023 at 9:46 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA/Gray News) - A preliminary report has been released in the investigation of the death of an airport crew member in Alabama.

The National Transportation Safety Board released its report on the deadly New Year’s Eve incident that occurred at Montgomery Regional Airport.

WSFA reports the victim, identified as Courtney Edwards, a 34-year-old mother, was part of ramp personnel for Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines when she was killed in the incident.

The NTSB report details several safety protocols that did not appear to have been followed.

The report indicates two safety meetings were held shortly before the plane arrived to remind the crew that the engines would remain running and that the aircraft should not be approached during that time.

American Eagle flight ENY3408 arrived from Dallas - Fort Worth to Montgomery Regional Airport around 2:40 p.m. According to the report, the flight crew left both engines running for a required two-minute “engine cool down period.”

After the plane stopped and the parking brake was applied, the captain gave a hand signal to connect the airplane to ground power.

As the captain was beginning to shut down the engine on the right side, an alert in the cockpit indicated the forward cargo door had been opened, prompting the plane’s first officer to open his cockpit window to inform the ramp agent that engines were still running.

Shortly afterward, the captain “saw a warning light illuminate and the airplane shook violently followed by the immediate automatic shutdown of the number 1 engine,” which was located on the plane’s left wing.

The NTSB report notes that the accident was captured on surveillance video. The camera recorded four ramp agents during the incident, including one who “appeared walking towards the back of the airplane with an orange safety cone where she disappeared from view.”

A portion of the report detailing the victim’s final moments notes:

“The ramp agent from the back of the airplane reappeared and began walking away from the airplane and towards the left wing tip where she disappeared from the camera’s field of view. The marshaller could be seen backing away from the airplane’s open forward cargo door and the ramp agent from the back of the airplane reappeared walking along the leading edge of the left wing and directly in front of the number one engine. She was subsequently pulled off her feet and into the operating engine.”

No date has been given for when a final report will be released.