The below story was passed along by a fellow pilot (does not involve Meridian). This story is a great reminder to stay aware of what your passengers are doing.
I would like to tell a quick (sort of) story about an incident that happened to a very dear family that I fly in hopes it will prevent another incident like this to happen to anyone else.
I fly a Citation Encore + out of MDD single pilot for an amazing family. I'm a contract pilot and fly several other airplanes out of HOU so I wasn't on the trip yesterday but my good friend Eric was (also single pilot) and he called to tell me what had happened.
Eric was loading bags in the aft baggage compartment when he felt something hit the airplane and heard a "twang" sound. As he backed out of the baggage compartment to see what had happened he heard his passengers start screaming hysterically. Apparently one of the three kids (6, 8 and 10) had been running around the plane and had run into the static wick on the left wing. The static wick had penetrated his eye socket and gone all the way through to his brain. They found out later, through scans, that the eyeball had not been punctured but had been pushed down as the wick went through the socket. Also, thankfully, the brain itself had not been penetrated (apparently there is a membrane surrounding the brain that protects it and that had moved but wasn't punctured) and the wick had just missed a major artery.
To add insult to injury he had hit the static wick so hard that he bounced off of it and flew back hitting his head on the concrete so hard that he got a severe concussion.
He was airlifted to LBB trauma center where he is now in ICU. He's expected to live but the doctors don't know if he'll be able to see out of his eye or if he did any permanent damage to his brain.
I tell this story for two reasons:
1. Please pray for Sam and his family to come through this with healing grace
2. Even though I know it's not our responsibility to watch the kids (or adults for that matter) as we are loading an airplane we still need to be super vigilant. I'm going to personally adopt a "no kids behind the wing" rule and enforce it no matter what. In 17 years of corporate flying I can easily say that these are the nicest people I've ever flown and my heart is just breaking for them right now. Also, this family has owned airplanes since 1975 so they are definitely used to being around them.
Please, please, please keep a careful watch out for your passengers while they are milling around the plane. I know that it's like hearding cats sometimes but these accidents are preventable.