Airport sign kills boy: Faulty construction to blame?

Airport sign kills boy: A 10-year old boy died after an airport sign fell on a family of four. The boy's mother is in critical condition. The sign was in a newly renovated section of the Birmingham airport.

A sign in a newly renovated section of the Birmingham airport fell on a family Friday, killing a 10-year boy and injuring other family members.

Deputy Coroner Derrick Perryman said 10-year-old Luke Bresette was pronounced dead at Children's of Alabama. Two other children were being treated there, and the mother, Heather Bresette, was taken to University Hospital, where spokeswoman Nicole Wyatt said she was in critical condition. Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Derrick Perryman confirms the family is from Overland Park, Kan.

Firefighters estimated the arrival-departure sign weighed 300 to 400 pounds.

Albert Osorio, 46, of Birmingham told that he was close by when the sign fell. He said a loud boom was followed by screams from the family and witnesses. Then he and five other passers-by lifted off the sign.

"The whole thing flipped down on those kids. It took all of us here to stand it up," he said.

Orsorio said that from what he saw, the sign appeared to be attached to the wall "only with liquid nails," which is a caulking-like substance similar to heavy duty hot glue.

Airport spokeswoman Toni Herrera-Bast said she couldn't confirm how the sign was mounted to the wall. She said it happened about 1:30 p.m. Friday in a pre-security area of the airport. The airport continued operating while rescue workers tended to the family.

The airport completed the first phase of a more than $201 million modernization effort and opened newly renovated concourses last week.

Mayor William Bell issued a statement saying the city offered its full support to the Airport Authority in investigating the accident.

The Birmingham airport tragedy is reminiscent of a new-construction incident in Boston in 2006. A woman was killed and another injured when a 3-ton concrete panel fell on a car traveling through a newly constructed tunnel leading to Logan International Airport. The tunnel was closed for a year, and inspections found 242 potentially dangerous bolt fixtures and epoxy used to hold the ceiling tiles. Several lawsuits were filed against the construction company and the epoxy manufacturer.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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