The National Transportation Safety Board has revealed new details about the airline worker who died after being sucked into a plane engine. According to the NTSB, the aircraft “shook violently” as it shut off with a loud “bang.”
Per the NTSB, the tragedy involving a ramp agent occurred after an Embraer 170 plane landed with 63 passengers. Authorities identified the deceased agent as Courtney Edwards, a 34-year-old mother of three.
The NTSB said the aircraft had an inoperative auxiliary power unit. The agency also stated that the captain needed it to be hooked up to ground power. He reportedly chose to “leave both engines running for the required two-minute engine cool-down period.”
However, as he turned off the plane’s right engine, he received a message that the aircraft’s cargo door had opened. “The first officer opened his cockpit window to inform the ramp agent that the engines were still operating,” the report stated.
New NTSB findings reveal airline worker died just after safety meeting about engines
Later, the agency discovered that the plane’s captain asked passengers to stay seated. He told his colleague that he would shut down the airplane’s left engine after it got hooked up to ground power.
“Immediately thereafter, he saw a warning light illuminate and the airplane shook violently, followed by the immediate automatic shutdown of the number 1 [left] engine,” the report said. “Unsure of what had occurred, he extinguished the emergency lights.” He also “shut off both batteries before leaving the flight deck to investigate.”
The NTSB said Edwards was seen walking along the leading edge of the left wing. She was also directly in front of the number one engine. Then, she was “subsequently pulled off her feet and into the operating engine.”
The NTSB added: “Throughout the course of the accident, the airplane’s upper rotating beacon light.” The light cautions ground crews of engine activity, however, at the time, it “appeared to be illuminated.”
The report added that before the plane touched down, the ramp agents had two safety briefings. The briefings were to review the fact that the engines would remain running until they connected ground power.
“It was also discussed that the airplane should not be approached, and the diamond of safety cones should not be set until the engines were off, spooled down, and the airplane’s rotating beacon light had been extinguished by the flight crew,” the report continued. The agency also said that one ramp employee heard a “bang” as the engine powered down.