Alabama officials probe fallen airport sign that killed boy

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 25, 2013 3:07 PM

By Verna Gates

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) - The mother of a 10-year-old boy killed by a falling sign at an Alabama airport was in serious condition with her own injuries on Monday, as authorities investigated what caused the accident, in a recently renovated space.

Heather Bresette of Overland Park, Kansas, and several of her children were pinned under a flight display sign weighing 300 to 400 pounds (140 to 180 kg) that fell inside the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport as they traveled home on Friday from a spring break vacation in Florida.

Luke Bresette, 10, was killed, and his mother was seriously hurt. His brother Sam, 8, was in good condition on Monday at the Children's of Alabama hospital, and 5-year-old brother Tyler had been released, said hospital spokeswoman Kathy Bowers.

Airport officials said they would not speculate on the cause of the incident, which remained under investigation.

The probe will include talks with contractors and subcontractors who recently updated the part of the airport where the sign was hung, airport officials said in a statement. The renovated area opened on March 13, said spokeswoman Toni Bast.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell called for a swift review of the "horrible accident."

"No parent should have to endure the death of their child," he said. "I have met with the father, and he is heartbroken and wants and deserves answers. I want a full report on my desk as quickly as possible."

Luke's father, Ryan Bresette, remembered his son on Facebook over the weekend, asking friends and family to wear their favorite sports jerseys to church in honor of his sports-loving child.

He posted a photo of Luke with a pirate mustache painted on his face.

"If you knew Luke, then you know this picture captures almost everything about his personality," Ryan Bresette wrote. "God bless you Luke! Please keep praying for us!"

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Steve Orlofsky)