Crash at Sea
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Crash at Sea

Mar 27, 2023

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SEATAC, Wash. — Three people were injured the afternoon of May 17 after an SUV accidentally accelerated and drove onto the curbside departure area at Sea-Tac Airport.

The Port of Seattle said all three were seriously injured and taken to area hospitals. One of them is a 4-year-old who was listed in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center on May 18.

The crash occurred as Sea-Tac Airport is about halfway through a year-long Curbside Safety and Accessibility Project.

"I know they've been working on everything around here, and there's a definite necessity for it," said passenger Craig Fischer, who lives in Tacoma.

Part of the nearly $23 million project includes bollards that are already being installed along the arrivals level, separating the curb area from the road. The airport said this is only planned to be done along the arrivals floor as that is where more people are waiting for extended periods of time, and due to the structure of the curbside area. There are some bollards being put in on the departures floor, but predominately around places like terminal doors, not lining the roadway like at arrivals.

Fischer said he thinks they are needed along the road at departures where the crash happened too.

"Upstairs, the departures gets crazy, where traffic is merging on over really quickly," said Fischer.

The airport said it is planning to get rid of the curbside skycap check-ins, like where this crash happened, as part of a project expected to be completed in 2026 to reduce the number of people in the curbside departures area.

The Curbside Safety and Accessibility Project is scheduled to be completed in fall of this year.

As part of this project, all windows in the main terminal and skybridges will have shatter proof windows installed to make them more secure, according to the project website. Steel bollards are being installed at the entrance to all skybridges on the parking garage side and along the courtesy vehicle plaza. The bollards are being installed for the safety and security of all travelers, employees, and volunteers. The project webpage said the accessibility and security improvements were part of a recommendation by the Accessibility Study completed by the Open Doors Organization as well as an agreement with the FAA.

The airport said it is continuing to evaluate all safety enhancements and that it had evaluators assessing the results after the crash on May 17.