A baggage handler has died after apparently being sucked into a plane’s engine in a freak New Year’s Eve accident.
Authorities say the unidentified employee was working on the ramp at Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama at around 3 pm Saturday, when he was said to be sucked into the running engine of an Envoy Air flight that was parked ahead of its scheduled flight to Dallas, Texas.
The victim has not yet been publicly identified but was an employee of Piedmont Airlines. Both Envoy and Piedmont are regional subsidiaries of American Airlines.
Montgomery Regional Airport was closed in the immediate aftermath, but resumed operations late Saturday night, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transpiration Safety Board are investigating the incident.
In a statement, American Airlines said it is ‘devastated by the accident involving a team member. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and our local team members.
‘We are focused on ensuring that all involved have the support they need during this difficult time.’
Piedmont Airlines also said it has mobilized its CARE team to provide support to the victim’s family, friends and co-workers.
Meanwhile, Wade A Davis, the executive director of the airport said: ‘We are saddened to hear about the tragic loss of a team member of the AA/Piedmont Airlines.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.’
More information is expected to be released when the FAA files its first report on Monday.