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Woman dies after plane propeller hits head

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POSTED June 4, 2014 7:06 p.m.

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — An employee at a southwest Ohio skydiving business has died from head injuries she suffered when she walked into a spinning airplane propeller.

Sarah Rhoads, 24, died early Tuesday at a Dayton hospital, where she was flown after the accident Sunday in Middletown. The Miamisburg resident had been office manager for three years at Start Skydiving, which operates near Middletown Regional Airport.

Owner John Hart said it’s the first time the business has had such an accident. He said it can be difficult to see fast-spinning propeller blades.

“It doesn’t get any worse than this,” Hart told the Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News. “She was like a daughter. I loved that girl.”

Co-workers said Rhoads had walked out onto the tarmac planning to ask a pilot if he wanted food. But she inadvertently walked into the propeller of another plane that was idling on the tarmac, they said.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate.

Hart said an annual Labor Day event at the airport, called the “Work Stinks Boogie,” will be renamed the “Sarah Boogie” this year.

“We will never forget Sarah,” Hart said. “We want to celebrate her life.”

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