Samantha Hayes , A 27-Year-Old Single Mother Of Three Struck And Killed By Airplane Wing While Riding Lawn Mower

In a heart-wrenching incident that unfolded at the Broken Bow Airport in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, a young woman’s life was tragically cut short in a bizarre accident that has left her family and community in shock and mourning. Samantha Hayes, a 27-year-old single mother of three, was fatally struck by the wing of a small plane while she was operating a riding lawn mower near the airport runway. This devastating event occurred on the afternoon of September 29, 2023, and has left many questions and emotions in its wake.

A Day Turned Tragic

Samantha Hayes, a resident of Idabel, Oklahoma, was working her regular job at the Broken Bow Parks Department on that fateful Friday afternoon. Little did she know that the routine task of mowing the grass would take a horrifying turn. As she was operating the riding lawn mower, a 1972 Bonanza A36 plane was coming in for a landing at the Broken Bow Airport.

The pilot of the plane, 70-year-old James Baxter, noticed Samantha Hayes on the lawn mower during his descent. In a desperate attempt to avoid a collision, he made a valiant effort to pull the plane up and maneuver the wing away from Samantha. Tragically, despite his best efforts, the plane’s wing struck Samantha, leading to her immediate and untimely demise. The pilot himself miraculously escaped the accident without any injuries.

Samantha Hayes
Samantha Hayes

The Aftermath

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol swiftly responded to the scene, where they confirmed Samantha Hayes’s passing. The shock and grief that engulfed the responders and onlookers were palpable as they grappled with the surreal and tragic nature of the incident.

The investigation into this heart-wrenching accident is ongoing, as authorities seek to determine if any charges could be filed against the pilot. Questions are being raised about whether the pilot could have done anything differently to prevent this tragic event or if it was an unfortunate accident that was beyond anyone’s control.

Sarah Stewart, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, commented on the ongoing investigation, stating, “Did the pilot do anything wrong or was this just unavoidable?” These questions loom large as authorities and the Federal Aviation Administration delve into the details of the incident, examining any potential regulatory violations.

A Life Remembered

As the news of Samantha Hayes’s untimely demise spread, tributes began pouring in from friends and family, offering glimpses into the life of a vibrant, hardworking, and loving single mother. Samantha’s friends remembered her as a dedicated and wonderful mother who cherished her three children above all else. Darlene Tadleigh, a friend, expressed, “These babies knew they were loved,” a testament to Samantha’s devotion to her family.

Another close friend, Brooke Dean, fondly recalled the joyful moments they shared. She reminisced, “I will forever cherish those memories we made; they are absolutely precious to me.” Dean’s heartfelt words underscored the profound impact Samantha had on the lives of those who knew her.

Community in Mourning

Broken Bow, a small city located in southeastern Oklahoma near the Arkansas border, is a close-knit community that has been profoundly affected by this tragedy. With a population of approximately 4,120 residents, the news of Samantha Hayes’s passing sent shockwaves throughout the city. The airport itself is relatively small, with a 3,200-foot runway, making this accident all the more unexpected.

Vickie Patterson, the City Manager of Broken Bow, expressed the community’s collective grief, saying, “We are heartbroken and devastated by the passing of one of our team members.” Samantha was an employee of the city’s parks department, and her colleagues and friends were left reeling by her sudden and tragic loss. Patterson extended her deepest sympathies to Samantha’s family and friends during this challenging time.

As the investigation continues to unfold, the city of Broken Bow remains committed to understanding the circumstances that led to this heartbreaking accident. City Manager Vickie Patterson emphasized the importance of preventing such incidents in the future, saying, “It’s critical that we determine how this accident occurred so we can take steps to prevent something like this from happening again. Our goal is to return every employee home safely every day.” The city is cooperating fully with investigators and is prepared to implement any necessary preventative measures to safeguard its employees.


The tragic passing of Samantha Hayes has left a community in mourning, a family devastated, and friends grappling with the loss of a beloved mother, friend, and colleague. As authorities investigate the circumstances surrounding this accident, the city of Broken Bow remains united in its commitment to ensuring the safety of its employees and preventing such a tragedy from occurring again.

Samantha Hayes’s legacy lives on in the hearts of her children and those who had the privilege of knowing her. Her memory serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing every moment with loved ones. In the face of this heart-wrenching loss, the Broken Bow community rallies together to remember Samantha Hayes, a woman who will forever be cherished and dearly missed.


Q1: What happened to Samantha Hayes?

A1: Samantha Hayes, a 27-year-old single mother of three, tragically lost her life when she was struck by the wing of a small plane while riding a lawn mower near the Broken Bow Airport in McCurtain County, Oklahoma.

Q2: Who was the pilot of the plane involved in the accident?

A2: The pilot of the plane was identified as James Baxter, a 70-year-old individual who was attempting to land the plane when he saw Samantha Hayes on the lawn mower. He tried to pull the plane up to avoid her, but the wing ended up hitting her.

Q3: What is the current status of the investigation into the accident?

A3: The investigation into this tragic accident is ongoing. Authorities are working to determine if any charges could be filed against the pilot and whether there were any regulatory violations. The Federal Aviation Administration is also conducting its investigation.

Q4: How is the community reacting to Samantha Hayes’s passing?

A4: The community of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, is deeply saddened and in mourning following Samantha Hayes’s passing. Friends and colleagues have expressed their grief and shared fond memories of her. The city is committed to ensuring the safety of its employees and preventing such accidents in the future.

Q5: What is Samantha Hayes remembered for?

A5: Samantha Hayes is remembered as a dedicated and loving mother who cherished her three children. Friends described her as a hardworking and wonderful person who brought joy to the lives of those around her.

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