Airport Employee Dies After Being Sucked Into Plane Engine

Airport Employee Dies After Being Sucked Into Plane Engine

( – Working at an airport might seem relatively safe. As with anything, risks still exist. Unfortunately, an Alabama airline worker recently died in a horrible accident while on the job.

On Saturday, December 31, around 3 p.m., a Piedmont Airlines (owned by American Airlines) employee was working on the ramp at Montgomery Regional Airport when tragedy struck. The engine of a running plane suddenly sucked the employee into it. According to Reuters, the accident happened after pilots parked American Airlines Flight 3408, an Embraer E175 jet, after arriving from Dallas, Texas.

Authorities believe the employee, a baggage handler, was in the process of removing the luggage from the flight. The airport grounded all outbound and inbound flights for hours while law enforcement dealt with the scene. Wade A. Davis, the airport’s executive director, issued a statement expressing his condolences to the employees’ loved ones.

When jet engines run, they create an area of low air pressure, causing air from in front of the inlet cowl to go into the engine at high velocity. The airspeed near the inlet cowl can create suction strong enough to pull people into it.

Popular Mechanics reported deaths and injuries from jet engine ingestion don’t happen very often, but they aren’t uncommon. Boeing published an article in its company magazine in 2008 titled “Preventing Engine Ingestion Injuries When Working Near Airplanes,” highlighting the risks.

The article was specifically about 737s, but it stressed that all jets create dangers. The airplane manufacturer warned workers to keep safe distances from the engine inlet hazard zone. In 40 years, Boeing has had 33 engine ingestions, including one fatality.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the most recent accident. Authorities had not released the victim’s name to the public at the time of publication.

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