A tragic accident unfolded at Broken Bow Airport in Oklahoma, claiming the life of a 27-year-old mother of three, Samantha Hayes. Samantha, a dedicated employee of Broken Bow’s parks department, was mowing the lawn when disaster struck. The pilot of an airplane, James Baxter, 70, was in the process of descending onto the runway around 2:30 p.m. that day. Tragically, he did not spot Samantha on her lawnmower until after landing. Attempting to pull up to avoid her, he inadvertently struck her in the head with the wing of the aircraft.
Samantha Hayes succumbed to her head injury and was pronounced dead at the scene, while James Baxter emerged unharmed. An ongoing investigation by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) is seeking to determine whether any charges should be filed against the pilot.
Furthermore, authorities are probing whether Samantha was wearing reflective clothing at the time and whether she saw the approaching airplane. The Federal Aviation Administration is conducting its own investigation into any potential regulatory violations by the pilot or the aircraft.
The city of Broken Bow, a small community in southeast Oklahoma, expressed profound sorrow over the loss of Samantha, a valued team member. City Manager Vickie Patterson, in her role since 2011, is committed to cooperating with investigators to establish preventive measures and ensure the safety of employees.
Samantha Hayes is remembered by friends and family as a devoted and loving single mother to her three children. Heartfelt tributes on social media recount cherished memories of Samantha as a joyful presence in their lives. Friends celebrated her dedication to providing a safe and loving home for her children, emphasizing that they will always know the depth of their mother’s love.
The tragic accident at Broken Bow Airport has left the community mourning the loss of a vibrant young woman who had a promising future ahead of her. As investigations continue, the hope is that lessons can be learned to prevent such a heartbreaking incident from happening again.