Oklahoma woman riding lawn mower at airport dies after plane wing strikes her

Oklahoma woman riding lawn mower at airport dies after plane wing strikes her

Saman Shafiq

A woman was killed when the wing of a small airplane struck her as she was using a riding lawn mower last week in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported.

Samantha Hayes, 27, was mowing grass at Broken Bow Airport in the afternoon of Sept. 29 when she was struck by a plane.

The pilot, James Baxter, told authorities that his plane touched down on the runway when he saw Hayes, the Associated Press reported. Baxter, 70, said that he tried to pull up and fly over Hayes, but the plane’s wing ended up hitting her on her head.

The victim was pronounced dead on scene. While authorities did not share further information on the victim, tributes posted by her friends on Facebook reveal that Hayes was a single mother of three children, ages unknown.

Investigation ongoing

OHP spokesperson Sarah Stewart told AP that an investigation into the incident is ongoing and that they are trying to determine if any charges could be filed against the pilot.

“Did the pilot do anything wrong or was this just unavoidable?” Stewart said.

The spokesperson added that the Federal Aviation Administration was also investigating any potential regulatory violations regarding the pilot and the aircraft.

Baxter, who is also listed as the owner of the Beechcraft Bonanza on FlightAware, was unharmed in the accident. The pilot had taken off from McKinney National Airport in Dallas, making a 50-minute journey to Broken Bow, a small town near the Oklahoma-Arkansas border, about 200 miles south of Tulsa.

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‘Heartbroken and devastated’

Broken Bow City Manager Vickie Patterson, in a statement to NBC News, said that the city is “heartbroken and devastated” by the passing of one of their team members. Hayes was reportedly an employee of the city’s parks department.

“This is a terribly tragic accident, and our deepest sympathies go out to the employee’s family and friends,” Patterson told the news outlet. “It’s critical that we determine how this accident occurred so we can take steps to prevent something like this from happening again.”

Patterson shared that the city is working closely with investigators and that it will put preventative measures in place if required.

Contributing: Jana Hayes, The Oklahoman

Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @saman_shafiq7.

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