BROKEN BOW, OK – A freak accident at a small Oklahoma airport claimed the life of a single mother of three on Friday. Samantha Hayes, 27, was operating a lawn mower when she was fatally struck by the wing of a landing aircraft.
The incident occurred around 3:30 p.m. at the Broken Bow Airport. Hayes was on the runway when a 1972 Beechcraft Bonanza A36, piloted by 70-year-old James Baxter, was landing. Upon noticing Hayes, Baxter attempted to ascend again to avoid collision, but was unable to gain altitude quickly enough. The wing of the plane struck Hayes in the head, resulting in fatal injuries. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Baxter, who was unharmed in the incident, has not been charged. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident.
The Broken Bow Airport, which features a 3,200-foot runway, does not employ air-traffic controllers. Instead, pilots are responsible for announcing their own landings and takeoffs via radio. It remains unclear whether Hayes was employed at the airport.
Following the incident, friends of Hayes took to social media in order to express their grief and remember her as a dedicated mother. Darlene Tadleigh, a friend of Hayes, wrote on Facebook, “Samantha Hayes was a wonderful great mom to her 3 babies! She was a single mom who worked hard to give them a safe and loving home!”
Another friend, Brooke Dean, remembered Hayes as a “sweet beautiful soul,” and shared fond memories of their time together. Carley Hayes, an additional friend of the deceased victim, assured that the family would ensure the well-being of Hayes’ children.