BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - One of four children injured when a Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport flight information sign fell on a family today has died.
The Jefferson County Coroner's Office confirmed they received a call a short time ago from Children's Of Alabama. Deputy Coroner Derrick Perryman identified the child as Luke Bresette, age 10. He was pronounced dead at Children's of Alabama at 2:26 p.m.
Perryman said it's unclear where the family lives. Preliminary information is that they were on a layover in Birmingham and were to catch a connecting flight.
The boy's mother, Heather Bresette, is listed in critical condition at UAB Hospital, according a hospital spokeswoman. Bresette and her four children were trapped under the sign when it toppled on top of them just after 1:30 p.m. today in the newly-renovated terminal. All four children were taken to Children's of Alabama. Their father was not injured.
Birmingham Mayor William Bell moments ago issued this statement: "I have offered our full support to the Airport Authority as they investigate what has occurred this afternoon. I have asked our public safety staff to assist this family in their time of need in any way possible as they grapple with what has happened."
Birmingham Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Donald Jones said rescue workers received the first call at 1:38 p.m. The incident happened in the airport's pre-security area near the Southwest Airlines counter in the upstairs northeastern corner of the facility.
Jones estimated the flight display sign weighed between 300-400 pounds. The area was immediately cordoned off as dozens of people worked on the victims, each of whom were transported separately to the hospital.
Jones said he didn't know the ages of the boys, but gave a rough estimate of between ages 6 -10. Jones said the victims that were still on the scene when he arrived were alert. The mother, witnesses said, had serious injuries to her legs. Witnesses also said one of the boys was unresponsive when he was loaded into the ambulance.
Jones said the collapse of such a sign was a first for him. "I'm not aware of anything like that happening before,'' he said.
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." Read more via AL.com ...