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Continental Employee Struck by Plane

August 27, 1989

CHICAGO (AP) _ A 22-year-old mechanic for Continental Airlines was critically injured when she was run over by the wheel of a taxiing airplane Saturday at O’Hare International Airport.

The employee, Hope Lewellen of Orland Park, may have lost one leg and suffered severe damage to another, said a nursing supervisor at Lutheran General Hospital in suburban Park Ridge.

She was in critical condition, conscious but heavily sedated, when she was taken into surgery at about 6 p.m., said the supervisor, who declined to be identified.

Ms. Lewellen had been directing a Scandinavian Airlines Boeing 767 jumbo jet into a gate for a 5 p.m. departure to Stockholm when she was run over by a wheel after leaning down to pick up earphones that had fallen off her head, police said. The jet was moving backwards at the time.

Continental employees were the only ones aboard at the time of the accident, said Scandinavian Airlines spokeswoman Marj Abrams.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration were investigating the accident, said FAA spokesman Mort Edelstein.

Update hourly