Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Video Display Falls On Family, 1 Killed, 4 Injured

On Friday, March 22, 2013, a family returning home from a spring vacation in Florida had a stop-over in Alabama at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport that had tragic consequences:  A Video Display showing Flight Arrivals for the airlines toppled-over without warning and trapped a Mother and four children under it.  One of the children, a 10-year-old boy, did not survive.

Passersby rushed to lift the multi-screen video display off the family, and it's estimated weight of 300-400 pounds required six people to lift it up.  ABC News coverage can be found here:

Witnesses described the display to be a free-standing assembly that was not anchored to the wall behind it.  It appeared that the structural integrity of the floor, although concrete, may not have been sufficient to support the weight of the front-heavy unit.  Investigators are working to determine if the framework failed, or the floor failed.  The accident occurred only weeks after the airport had completed a $201 million dollar remodeling.

Update 2013-03-27:  The City of Birmingham has stated that the cabinet that contained the video monitors is considered furniture and was not under their jurisdiction to inspect because it was not a structural component of the building.  The cabinet was a freestanding item, and descriptions by witnesses say that it appeared to be attached to the floor with construction adhesive, with no bolts or other fasteners.  The Alabama Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have also said that the device was not under their jurisdiction.

Update 2013-03-31:  Luke Bresette, 10, was killed by the falling sign, while his 5-year-old brother Tyler suffered a concussion, and his 8-year-old brother Sam had a broken leg and nose. The boys’ mother, Heather Bresette, had broken ankles, a crushed pelvis and was in intensive care in the University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital after surgery.

The father, Ryan Bresette, and another son and daughter, were at the airport but not injured.
Birmingham, Ala.-based Brasfield & Gorrie and Bloc Global Services Group are the construction management team for the $201.6 million modernization project, which began in June 2012
Although this accident did not occur in a performance venue, it is important to note that many theatres utilize video displays in lobby spaces and other support spaces, including classrooms.  When was the last time anyone checked to see how your TV's, Projectors, and speakers are properly secured?

 TyWrap Wrigging doesn't cut it.

More information about video display mounting can be found here:

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