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An airline worker died after being 'ingested into the engine' of a plane, NTSB says

An airline worker died on Saturday after being "ingested" into the engine of American Airlines Embraer aircraft, like the kind pictured here at the Dallas/Fort Worth International airport in Dallas in June 2021.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds
/
AFP via Getty Images
An airline worker died on Saturday after being "ingested" into the engine of American Airlines Embraer aircraft, like the kind pictured here at the Dallas/Fort Worth International airport in Dallas in June 2021.

An airline ground crew worker in Montgomery, Ala., died after being "ingested into the engine" of a parked plane on Saturday, said the National Transportation Safety Board.

In a statement provided to NPR, the NTSB said it has opened an investigation into the death. The incident involved an Embraer 170 aircraft, a medium-range jet that can hold about 70 passengers, which had flown from Dallas Fort-Worth to the Montgomery Regional Airport.

The victim, whose name has yet to be released, was employed by Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines that operates at more than 80 airports. Neither company responded to NPR's request for comment.

"We are saddened to hear about the tragic loss of a team member of the AA/Piedmont Airlines," said Wade A. Davis, the airport's executive director. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time."

The airport grounded all flights for five hours after the incident, which occurred around 3 p.m. on New Year's Eve.

People briefed on the matter told Reuters that the engine was running at the time of the incident. The NTSB confirmed the parking brake on the aircraft was also set.

More details on the death will be released in a preliminary report in two to three weeks, the NTSB said.

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Emily Olson
Emily Olson is on a three-month assignment as a news writer and live blog editor, helping shape NPR's digital breaking news strategy.