A Kansas family’s vacation in Alabama turned deadly Friday when a 300-400 pound digital departure-arrival sign collapsed onto them as they made their way home through pre-security at the Birmingham Airport.
It was the most unexpected occurrence especially given the $200+ million airport renovation which completed only days ago.
The sign killed a ten year old boy in the family and left the mother in critical condition. Two other siblings were injured but not in any life threatening way. The total number of people injured was five.
The sign was so heavy and awkward that it took between eight and ten people to lift it off the family. The ten year old boy was immediately rushed to Children’s Alabama hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
His name was Luke Bessette. A local Birmingham resident who witnessed the freak accident and also helped lift the board off the family told reporters, “The whole thing flipped down on those kids. It took all of us here to stand it up.” The TSA initiated an immediate safety inspection of all airport flight information signs to prevent any further incident.
Airport officials also stated that the airport was not closed because of the incident.
Airport spokesperson Toni Herrera-Bast told the ABC News affiliate ABC 3340 that incident was being investigated.
“We’re going to continue to look into the situation, but for now we have secured the site,” said Herrera-Bast.
Airport travelers resumed their normal course of travel while emergency responders tended to the needs of the family.
The Mayor of Birmingham has issued the following statement in support of the Bessette family saying, “I have asked our public safety staff to assist this family in their time of need in any way possible as they grapple with what has happened.”
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