Preliminary report released on deadly Montgomery airport accident

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report into the deadly New Year’s Eve incident at Montgomery Regional Airport in Montgomery, Alabama, which involved a ground crew member’s ingestion into the engine of a parked airplane.

Courtney Edwards, a 34-year-old mother and a member of the ramp staff for Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines, was fatally injured in the incident. The individual who lost their life in this incident has been confirmed to be Courtney Edwards.

Courtney Edwards was named as the victim of the New Year’s Eve fatal industrial accident at Montgomery Regional Airport.(Donielle Prophete)

The report from the NTSB indicates that two safety meetings were held shortly before the plane arrived at the gate to remind the crew that the engines should remain running and the aircraft should not be approached during that time. The report also suggests that there were protocols in place to protect those in the vicinity of the airplane from injury or death, although it does not appear that these protocols were followed.

According to the report, the flight crew made the decision to keep both engines operational for a necessary two-minute “engine cool down period” after a smooth flight. American Eagle flight ENY3408 landed at Montgomery Regional Airport from Dallas Fort Worth at approximately 2:40 p.M.

Upon acknowledging the report, the captain gestured to connect the aircraft to ground power after it came to a halt and the parking brake was engaged, as there was no functional onboard auxiliary power unit available.

The engines were still operating, causing the first officer of the aircraft to open his cockpit window and notify the ramp agent that the front cargo door had been opened. Meanwhile, the captain was in the process of shutting down the engine on the right side when an alert in the cockpit was signaled.

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

The NTSB report notes that the video surveillance captured a sequence of the accident, including one person who appeared to be walking towards the back of the airplane with a safety orange cone where she had disappeared from view, along with four ramp agents.

A section of the report that describes the victim’s last moments mentions:

She subsequently pulled her feet off the operating engine and the engine number one in front of the airplane. She walked along the leading edge of the left wing and reappeared from the back of the airplane. The marshaller could be seen backing away from the open forward cargo door of the airplane, as viewed from the field camera. She disappeared from where the tip of the left wing was and began walking away from the airplane. Then, she reappeared from the back of the airplane, near the agent ramp.

The video additionally illustrated another disregarded safety protocol, which involves staying away when the aircraft’s revolving beacon light is still illuminated.

“During the incident, the aircraft’s upper rotating beacon light seemed to be lit,” the report described.

The subsequent observations, which are a component of its inquiry, furnished a summary of the airline’s operational guide. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) did not specify a date for the publication of the ultimate report.

The American Eagle Ground Operations Manual, Revision 3 dated July 13, 2022, mentions in part:.

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