The Alabama Air Force worker who died on New Year's Eve after being sucked into a plane engine at Montgomery Regional Airport is remembered as a loving mother of three children.
Courtney Edwards, 34, has been identified as a ramp agent for Piedmont Airlines, who the National Transportation Safety Board said was killed shortly after an Embraer 170 plane operated by Envoy Air landed with 63 passengers on board.
Courtney was a Ground Handling agent for Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines, a loving mother of 3 kids and a wonderful daughter to her beloved mother, Natalie English of Montgomery, Alabama, a GoFundMe page set up by a fellow union member. It's important to know that this tragedy will affect her mother, family, friends and kids for years to come. As of Wednesday, the GoFundMe campaign raised more than $100,000 for Edwards 3 beautiful kids to help cover funeral expenses, day-to-day expenses, and any other expenses needed to care for the children. The Communication Workers of America Local 3645 said in early January that Edwards was one of its members.
Richard Honeycutt, the vice president of CWA District 3 and chair of the Passenger Service Airline Council, said the news of this terrible tragedy was heartbreaking.
She was away from her family on New Year's Eve to make sure passengers got where they needed to be for the holidays. He said that she represents the very best of our CWA airport members who always make sacrifices to serve the flying public. Her memory will live on in the hearts and minds of her fellow CWA members and those closest to her. A report from the NTSB this week said the aircraft involved in the incident shook violently and shut off with a bang when it happened.
The preliminary report states that the aircraft had an inoperative auxiliary power unit and that its captain signaled for it to be connected to ground power after arriving from Dallas, opting to leave both engines running for the required two-minute engine cool down period. As the captain shutting off the plane's right engine, he received a message that the aircraft's front cargo door had opened and the first officer opened his cockpit window to inform the ramp agent that the engines were still operating, according to the report.
The captain then told passengers to remain in the seat until the seat belt sign turned off, and told his colleague that the airplane's left engine would be shut down after it was connected to ground power.
The report says that he saw a warning light illuminate and the airplane shook violently after the immediate automatic shutdown of the number 1 left engine.
The NTSB said Edwards was seen walking along the leading edge of the left wing and directly in front of the number one engine before she was pulled off her feet and into the operating engine. The report said just before the plane's arrival, ramp agents held two safety briefings to reiterate that the engines would remain running until ground power was connected. One of the ramp agents reported hearing a bang as the engine shut down, the NTSB said.