State investigating 3-year-old's death after accident on airport escalator

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The family of a 3-year-old who died after he fell in a stairway near the baggage claim area at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport still has many questions about how such a tragedy could happen.

The incident happened around 9 p.m. Sept. 25 near an escalator at the airport.

[ALSO READ: Charlotte Douglas workers want safety improvements after fatal]

Jaiden Cowart's mother said that after a trip from Florida, she was trying to pick up the family's baggage with her three small children.

She said Jaiden was standing a few feet away, leaning up against the glass part of an escalator. He somehow got caught in the handrail, was pulled up in the escalator, and fell.

Jaiden was taken to Atrium Health, where he later died.

(Jaiden Cowart, left)

Eyewitness News anchor Genevieve Curtis learned the escalator is back in use despite an investigation into the accident by North Carolina's Department of Labor.

Charlotte Douglas airport officials told Channel 9 the escalator was inspected after the incident.

State inspection records show the escalator was installed in 1987, more than 32 years ago. In 2016, the escalator was shut down for a month for compliance violations.

Over the years, it has also had several violations involving the handrails, including speed of the handrails.

The most recent violation was in 2013.

In a statement, Charlotte Douglas said they are grateful for the quick response of all the first responders to the accident.

"Our thoughts are with the family during this very difficult time. We are extremely grateful for the quick response of our emergency crews and law enforcement officers and for the medical assistance and care they provided."

Channel 9 spoke with Jaiden's mother, who said she is devastated and grieving. A lawyer representing her said they had no comment at this time.

Channel 9 reached out to MEDIC about their response times at the airport. In a statement, MEDIC said, "Patient care was given almost immediately."

CMPD's Homicide Unit is reviewing the case, which is common procedure for public accidents.

Jaiden's family described him as energetic, loving, playing and having an appetite for fun and adventure.

A GoFundMe was launched shortly after the accident to help the family through this difficult time. The account for the family said they are trying to honor him and keep his memory alive.

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