Worker sucked into plane engine and died, feds say. Airline fined

Piedmont Airlines, a regional subsidiary of American Airlines, has been fined by OSHA in the “preventable” death of an airline worker on New Year’s Eve, a workers union said.

Courtney Edwards, 34, a mother of three and ground agent at the Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama, was working on Dec. 31 when she walked too close to the engine of a plane parking at the gangway.

The extreme force pulled her toward the engine and she was “ingested,” according to the National Transportation Safety Board, reported.

NTSB released a report about the accident in January that found Piedmont had recently provided a training for employees that said not to approach the airplane until the engine had stopped and a light beacon was shut off.

Six months after that report, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration found Piedmont guilty of a “serious breach of safety.”

“OSHA also found that the lack of effective training, clear and unambiguous communication on the ramp, and clear instructions from supervisors as to when it is safe to approach an aircraft were deficiencies that contributed to Courtney Edwards’ preventable death,” the union said.

According to the union, OSHA issued a General Duty Clause violation with a maximum penalty of $15,625.

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