A 27-year-old mother of three was killed in a tragic accident at an airport in Broken Bow, Oklahoma on Friday (September 29). The woman, who was identified as Samantha Hayes, worked for the Broken Bow’s parks department and was riding a lawn mower when she was struck by the wing of an airplane.
The pilot of the airplane – James Baxter, 70 – was descending onto the runway at around 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, but he didn’t see the woman on the lawn mower until after he landed. Baxter then ‘attempted to pull up’ in an effort to ‘get the wing over the person,’ but he ended up striking her in the head by accident.
Hayes was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of an injury to the head, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) – Baxter was unharmed in the accident. An investigation is ongoing to determine ‘whether any charges could be filed against the pilot (Baxter),’ according to a spokesperson for the OHP.
The OHP also wants to investigate whether or not the woman was wearing reflective clothing at the time of the incident and if she saw the airplane coming at her. Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration is conducting an investigation of its own into any potential regulatory violations by the pilot and/or aircraft.
Vickie Patterson, the Broken Bow City Manager, expressed how ‘heartbroken’ and ‘devastated’ the city was over the ‘passing of one of our team members.’ She sent her ‘deepest sympathies’ to Hayes’ loved ones and is working with investigators to ensure preventive measures are taken if deemed necessary.