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02nd Jan 2023

Airport baggage handler dies ‘after being sucked into plane engine’

Steve Hopkins

The worker was ‘ingested into the engine’

An airport baggage handler was killed on New Year’s Eve after being sucked into a plane engine.

The unidentified victim died at Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama while working on the ramp of a plane waiting to depart to Dallas around 3pm local time.

The victim, an employee of Piedmont Airlines, has not been named.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has since confirmed to WSFA-12 that an American Airlines plane was parked at the gate with the parking brake set when a ground support personnel was “ingested into the engine.”

“We are saddened to hear about the tragic loss of a team member of the AA/Piedmont Airlines,” MGM executive director Wade A. Davis said in a statement on Saturday.

NTSB officials said a preliminary report is expected within the next two to three weeks.

American Airlines issued a statement, telling Insider that they are “devastated by the accident involving a team member”.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and our local team members,” they added.

“We are focused on ensuring that all involved have the support they need during this difficult time.”

Piedmont Airlines is a subsidiary of American Airlines.

Following the freak accident, all inbound and outbound flights via MGM were suspended at the airport. Montgomery Regional Airport tweeted Monday to say that normal operations had returned by 8:30pm.

Two people familiar with the incident told Reuters that the engine was running as the Piedmont Airlines ground crew worker did their job.

The death was described as an “industrial accident” by the airport.

The plane involved was a four-year-old Embraer E175, and it was on the ground preparing for flight AA3408 from Montgomery to Dallas.

An investigation has now been launched into the incident by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the NTSB.

The airline has also mobilised its CARE team to support the victim’s family and friends.

The FAA is expected to release more information about the incident on Tuesday.

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