Alabama airport still uses cabinet like the one that killed an Overland Park boy

03/27/2013 6:02 PM

05/20/2014 10:41 AM

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 Overland Park 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 the 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.

Airport spokeswoman Toni Herrera-Bast said a similar cabinet was removed from another area, but she had no 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. The mother, Heather Bresette, remains hospitalized.

A preliminary report sent to Mayor William Bell by the airport’s governing authority suggested continued use of the cabinets provided that 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.

“Hundreds travel through the airport daily, and it is unacceptable that we continue to wait for answers,” he said in a statement.

The city said it had not inspected the large units because they were freestanding 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.

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