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.
“It’s critical that we determine how this accident occurred so we can take steps to prevent something like this from happening again. Our goal is to return every employee home safely every day,” Patterson – who has been City Manager since 2011 and is also listed as manager of the airport – said in her statement.
The city of Broken Bow, Oklahoma was founded in 1911 and has a population of 4,120, according to their website. It’s a small city (roughly 6.16 square miles) that sits in the southeast corner of the state – nestled in the foothills of the Kiamichi Mountains – just 16 miles away from the Oklahoma-Arkansas border.
Oklahoma Community Remembers Samantha Hayes as a Devoted Mother of 3
On Saturday (September 30), as news of Samantha Hayes’ death spread around town, friends and family members took to social media to share their beautiful (yet, heartbreaking) memories of Samantha. They remember her as a devoted and loving single mother of three kids who was always a joy to be around.
“She was a single mom who worked hard to give them a safe and loving home! These babies knew they were loved everyday all day! Them babies will know how much their momma loved them,” said one friend on Facebook. “We never know when these things are gonna happen but they can and for her it did.”
Another friend remembered how they ‘never had a dull night’ with her and they would ‘always all end up laughing the whole time or doing something off the wall’ when they were together. “I will forever cherish those memories we made they are absolutely precious to me,” she wrote in her touching Facebook post.
A third friend described Samantha as her ‘best friend’ and said she was ‘one of the sweetest people’ she had ever met. “You was so full of life and had a whole life ahead of you with your precious babies,” she wrote on Facebook – adding that she has a ‘whole family that’s gonna make sure them babies are good.’
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