Woman Hit and Killed by Plane Wing While Mowing Grass at Airport

A tragic accident at the Broken Bow Airport in Oklahoma claimed the life of a 27-year-old mother of three.

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A shocking incident at an Oklahoma airport claimed the life of a single mother of three.

The Associated Press reports that Samantha Hayes, 27, who had been employed by the city of Broken Bow’s Parks Department, tragically lost her life at the town's municipal airport. 

Hayes was riding a lawn mower at work at about 3:30 p.m. on Friday when suddenly a 1972 Beechcraft Bonanza A36 airplane, piloted by 70-year-old James Baxter, struck her in the head with its wing during a landing attempt. Baxter had allegedly tried to take off to avoid hitting Hayes, but couldn’t gain enough altitude in time. Hayes was declared dead at the scene.

The accident is currently under investigation by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Federal Aviation Administration.

“We’re investigating whether any charges could be filed against the pilot,” said OHP spokesperson Sarah Stewart on Monday. “Did the pilot do anything wrong or was this just unavoidable?”

Details about the fatal incident, including whether the woman wore reflective clothing or if she was aware of the plane, are also part of the investigation.

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The small airport in Broken Bow, which is about 185 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, is reportedly not staffed with air traffic controllers. Pilots therefore announce their own landings and takeoffs via radio. 

“We are heartbroken and devastated by the passing of one of our team members,” wrote City Manager Vickie Patterson in a message obtained by the New York Post. “This is a terribly tragic accident, and our deepest sympathies go out to the employee’s family, friends, and co-workers. Our number one priority is always safety for the employees and public. It’s critical that we determine how this accident occurred.”

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