An airport digital signage flight status display board fell over Friday, collapsing on top of a family and killing a 10-year-old boy, according to the Associated Press and ABC News.
The display board at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Ala., toppled over on top of a mother and three of her children, killing one of the children. The mother is in serious condition and was reported earlier today to still be unaware of her son's death.
The airport and the general contractor for the recent airport expansion where the accident took place, Brasfield & Gorrie, both have released statements, but it is unclear what company or subcontractor served as the installer for the digital display boards. A second display similar to the one that fell has since been removed from the airport as a precautionary measure.
The weight of the display, which appears to have included several digital signage display screens in a large metallic enclosure, has been estimated by various sources as being between 300 and 400 pounds. A story on Good Morning America showed eight workers lifting the display board back into a standing position.
One eyewitness said the display board appeared to not have bolts or brackets holding it to the airport wall, according to Al.com, the news portal for the Alabama Media Group, which includes The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and Mobile's Press-Register:
Albert Osorio, 46, of Birmingham said he was close by when the sign fell. There was a loud "boom" followed by the screams of victims and those who saw it happen. "The whole thing flipped down on those kids. It took all of us here to stand it back up. Everybody started screaming," he said.
Osorio said he and five other passers-by lifted the sign off of the trapped family. It was, Orsorio said, a tough thing to witness. "It's hard to describe."
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.
The news underscores the need for proper mounting of digital signage display boards for public safety. Efforts by DigitalSignageToday.com to contact digital signage mounting specialists to talk about key concerns in these types of deployments have been thus far unsuccessful.
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