Here’s one from the “never should have happened” files. A woman lost her arm and a foot when she walked into a spinning propeller of the plane she was a passenger in. The accident happened in Key West, Florida.
The pilot of the plane reportedly got out of it with the prop still running to check on some unidentified mechanical issue. Why anyone would do that is beyond us. Local media is reporting that at that same time, and presumably unbeknownst to the pilot, the passenger got out of the still running plane, a Skyhawk, and walked around the front of it and into the prop.
While we’re reluctant to speculate on accidents, here’s one where we feel very secure in saying should never, ever, ever have happened. A pilot should NEVER get out of a plane with the engine running. Our policy is to always shut down to drop off passengers, to pick up passengers or in places where there are people on the ramp. And if exceptions are made to that policy, they should only be with other pilots who are aware of the prop danger and only after having specifically briefed the procedure. It’s deadly serious stuff.
The woman who was injured in this accident isn’t lucky. She suffered terrible injuries and we wish her the best for as successful and quick a recovery as possible. But in one way, she’s fortunate. In the vast majority of prop strikes, the injuries sustained are fatal.
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