A woman was killed when the wing of a small airplane struck her as she was using a riding lawn mower last week in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported.
Samantha Hayes, 27, was mowing grass at Broken Bow Airport in the afternoon of Sept. 29 when she was struck by the plane.
The pilot, James Baxter, told authorities that his plane had touched down on the runway when he saw Hayes, The Associated Press reported. Baxter, 70, said that he tried to pull up and fly over Hayes, but the plane's wing ended up hitting her on her head.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. While authorities did not share further details of the victim, tributes posted by her friends on Facebook reveal that Hayes was a single mother of three children, ages unknown.
Chief of Police Broken Bow Richard Wiggins, in an email to USA TODAY said the OHP, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the FBI are conducting a joint investigation into the incident. No charges have been filed at this time.
Earlier, OHP spokesperson Sarah Stewart told AP that authorities are trying to determine if any charges could be filed against the pilot.
“Did the pilot do anything wrong or was this just unavoidable?" Stewart had said.
The spokesperson added that the FAA was also investigating any potential regulatory violations regarding the pilot and the aircraft.
Baxter, who is also listed as the owner of the 1972 Bonanza A36 on FlightAware, was not injured in the accident, said Wiggins. The pilot had taken off from McKinney National Airport in Dallas, making a 50-minute journey to Broken Bow, a small town near the Oklahoma-Arkansas border, about 200 miles south of Tulsa.
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'Heartbroken and devastated'
Broken Bow City Manager Vickie Patterson, in a statement said that the city is "heartbroken and devastated" by the passing of one of its team members. Hayes was a city employee assigned to the Parks Division, Wiggins told USA TODAY.
"This is a terribly tragic accident, and our deepest sympathies go out to the employee's family, friends and co-workers," Patterson said. "Our number one priority is always safety to the employees and public. It's critical that we determine how this accident occurred."
Contributing: Jana Hayes, The Oklahoman
Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @saman_shafiq7.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Oklahoma woman riding lawn mower dies after plane wing strikes her