By Yaron Steinbuch
A single mother of three was killed when she was struck by the wing of a landing plane as she rode a lawn mower at work at a small Oklahoma airport, officials said.
Samantha Hayes, 27, was riding the vehicle at Broken Bow Airport about 3:30 p.m. Friday when a 1972 Beechcraft Bonanza A36 came in for landing, Sarah Stewart, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, told The Post.
The pilot, 70-year-old James Baxter, noticed Hayes and tried to take off to avoid hitting her, but a wing fatally struck the woman in the head as he was unable to gain altitude fast enough, Stewart said.
Hayes was declared dead at the scene.
Baxter was uninjured in the tragic accident and no charges have been filed, officials said.
The accident remains under investigation.
Hayes was working at the time of the accident, said Stewart, who did not know who the employer was. Officials with the municipality did not immediately respond to a message from The Post.
The small airport, which has a 3,200-foot asphalt runway, is not staffed with air-traffic controllers, meaning pilots self-announce their landings and takeoffs on the radio. The weather at the time of the accident was clear, officials said.
Hayes’ friends mourned her loss with emotional messages on Facebook.
“Samantha Hayes was a wonderful great mom to her 3 babies! She was a single mom who worked hard to give them a safe and loving home! These babies knew they were loved every day all day!” Darlene Tadleigh wrote.
“Them babies will know how much their momma loved them. We never know when these things are gonna happen but they can and for her it did,” she wrote.
“God knew [h]is plan for her and it’s hard for us to process because she was still needed here but his ways are higher than our ways even when it’s hard to understand,” Tadleigh added.
Another friend, Brooke Dean, called Hayes a “sweet beautiful soul.”
“I loved getting to know you and hanging out. We never had a dull night we would always ll end up laughing the whole time or doing something off the wall like trying to catch a vulture in the middle of the night when you thought it was a chicken or cutting our legs crawling under the barb wire fence to go frog giggin,” Dean wrote.
“I will forever cherish those memories we made they are absolutely precious to me. I wish we had more time, Sammy. We love you,” she added.
A third, Carley Hayes, promised that the tragic mom has “got a whole family that’s gonna make sure that them babies are good.”