BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – The city’s airport on Wednesday was still using a large panel of video monitors similar to one that tipped over and killed a 10-year-old Kansas boy last week, despite a lack of answers about what caused the accident.
The approximately 9-foot-tall cabinet was flashing flight information on three screens along a wall near baggage claim, five days after a similar display killed Luke Bresette one floor higher inside a new part of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.
A small warning sign told visitors not to touch the cabinet, and a portable metal fence on wheels was in place to keep people away. The cabinet was leaning forward slightly, with the top edge farther from the wall than the base. It did not appear to be anchored to the wall for safety.
Airport spokeswoman Toni Herrera-Bast said a similar cabinet was removed from another area, but she didn’t have any immediate information about the one still in use.
Airport officials and a contractor have said they are trying to determine what caused a 300- to 400-pound steel cabinet to fall over and smash into the Bresette family as they returned home from Florida on Friday, killing Luke. His mother and two brothers were hurt.
A preliminary report sent to Mayor William Bell by the airport’s governing authority suggested continued use of the cabinets provided they be kept close to walls and anchored in place.
“This can be done with little modification to the units and in their current locations,” said the report, made public by the mayor’s office.
Bell was critical of the one-page report, which failed to say what caused the accident.
“This is not enough information and I would hope that the Airport Authority can and will provide a more thorough investigation into what went wrong and how it can be prevented,” he said in a statement. “Hundreds travel through the airport daily and it is unacceptable that we continue to wait for answers.”
Bell said he wanted “as much information as possible,” and quickly.
The cabinets were installed during a $201 million expansion and renovation of the airport, where a new area containing the monitors opened just nine days before the deadly accident.
The city said it had not inspected the large units because they were free-standing and not considered part of the building, and both state and federal officials said they had no oversight of the area where the child was injured.
Luke, a fifth-grader from Overland Park, Kansas, died about an hour after the panel fell on top of him. His mother, Heather Bresette, remained hospitalized Wednesday in serious condition for treatment of two broken ankles and a crushed pelvis.
Two other sons, ages 5 and 8, were hurt, but officials said their injuries were not life-threatening.
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