North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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April 4, 2013

Birmingham airport removes flight-information displays after fatal accident

BIRMINGHAM — The Birmingham Airport Authority has removed the remaining flight information boards from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport today, after concerns about their safety in the wake of death of a 10-year-old boy.

BAA president Al Denson announced the removal Thursday, after he learned that the remaining displays may still have safety issues following the March 22 accident that killed Luke Bresette and injured his mother and two brothers.

“Our goal is to ensure the safety of each traveler and visitor at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport,” Denson said in a statement. “This matter still is under investigation, but it was imperative that we take immediate steps as soon as we learned of additional, pertinent information.”

The BAA board of directors has hired Barter and Associates, an independent structural engineering firm from Mobile, to investigate the safety concerns around the display boards.

Denson said that he learned Tuesday that some of those involved in the construction project were concerned about the free-standing boards and risks they might pose. “We do not have a full understanding of what was done or considered to address these concerns. I have inquired as to whether anyone associated with the Birmingham Airport Authority had knowledge about these safety issues. Based upon the information that I have to date, no one affiliated with the Authority was aware of these concerns before the accident,” Denson said in a separate statement.

Denson ordered the remaining boards to be removed Tuesday. Additional supports for the boards were installed after the accident.

The boards were part of the recent renovation of the airport’s terminals.

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