Machine malfunction damages cars at American Airlines

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Updated: 3/14/2012 10:00 am Published: 3/13/2012 2:41 pm

American Airlines employees are questioning how at least 100 cars were damaged in a parking lot on Tuesday.

Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputies were called to parking lot near the engineering building at the maintenance facility in north Tulsa.  

Officials with American Airlines told investigators the incident was an accident. A bead blaster malfunctioned causing the damage to cars and windows. However, some employees are not buying the cause of the damage.

The initial call came in on the non-emergency line as a shooting at the American Airlines parking lot.

"Original reports were believed that the window damage could have been caused by a firearm, air soft gun or pellet gun,” said Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Shannon Clark.

When deputies arrived, they were informed it was an accident.

"We were contacted by chief of security, that there was a machine on site capable of producing this type of damage to the vehicles,” said Clark.

An employee sent FOX23 News a picture of that machine. It’s called a bead blaster. It acts like a sand blaster but polishes and cleans airplane parts.

Beads found at local tool shop were as fine as white sand.

Apparently the beads were powerful enough to damage cars more than a hundred yards away.

"Right now we don't feel there is any malicious intent we feel it is an industrial accident,” said Clark.

However, additional investigators were called back to the scene a few hours later.

"In light of that talking to witnesses and getting additional information we sent additional investigators out to visit with the victims to document evidence, to take pictures and do a more comprehensive report,” said Clark. "We haven't had an eye witness that we have interviewed yet come forward to explain what they saw or how this took place."

Investigators are reviewing security video from the property.

American told investigators it will pay for the damage.

However, a spokesperson told FOX23 News it depends on the cause of the damage.

Depending on the type of vehicle, an average windshield replacement can cost between $100 and $200.

American Airlines spokesperson Missy Cousina released this statement about the incident:

"We are investigating an incident involving damage to employees’ cars at our Maintenance & Overhaul base in Tulsa. We have asked that local law enforcement investigate the situation."


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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Angel Seo - 3/14/2012 3:20 PM
0 Votes
I've worked with an abrasive media blaster machine and they are used to strip paint and grease from aircraft parts at a distance of 1 through maybe 12 inches. other than that their velocity starts to decrease and is harmless. I highly doubt one of these machines caused the damages which were hundreds of feet away. They're probably covering something up.

Unwashed Mass - 3/14/2012 12:34 PM
0 Votes
More to the point, could it damage cars a half mile away? It's just getting hard to take the sheriff's dept at face value these days, but with headlines like "Machine malfunction damages cars at American Airlines"......

watchdog11 - 3/13/2012 10:50 PM
2 Votes
Could one machine damage that many cars? I don't know anything about it, but it sounds unlikely to me. Maybe someone is p***ed at American and the people who still have jobs.
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