Airport worker dies after being ‘ingested’ into plane engine in Texas
(CNN) — A ground worker was killed at San Antonio International Airport after being “ingested” into a plane’s engine Friday, officials said.
Delta Flight 1111 had arrived at San Antonio from Los Angeles and was taxiing to a gate using one engine “when a worker was ingested into that engine at about 10:25 p.m.,” the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement to CNN on Sunday evening.
The safety board is continuing to gather information about what happened, it said. San Antonio International is working with authorities on the investigation, a spokesperson said.
“An accident occurred on the ground at San Antonio International Airport (SAT) Friday night that resulted in the fatality of an airline ground crew member,” airport spokesperson Erin Rodriguez said in a statement.
“We are deeply saddened by this incident and are working with authorities as they begin their investigation. We will share more information as details become available.”
Delta Air Lines said it was “grieving” the loss.
“We are heartbroken and grieving the loss of an aviation family member’s life in San Antonio. Our hearts and full support are with their family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time,” a Delta spokesperson told CNN in an email.
Unifi Aviation provides aviation services at San Antonio International Airport and employed the worker who died.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the deceased, and we remain focused on supporting our employees on the ground and ensuring they are being taken care of during this time,” the company said in a statement to CNN. “From our initial investigation, this incident was unrelated to Unifi’s operational processes, safety procedures and policies. Out of respect for the deceased, we will not be sharing any additional information. While police and other officials continue to investigate this incident, we defer to them on providing further details.”
An airport worker who died in an accident at the Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama last New Year’s Eve also was ingested into the engine of an aircraft, the NTSB said in a January statement.
That aircraft, an Embraer 170 operated by regional carrier Envoy Air, was “parked at the gate with the parking brake set when a ground support personnel was ingested,” said the agency.
“We are saddened to hear about the tragic loss of a team member of the AA/Piedmont Airlines,” the airport’s executive director, Wade Davis, said at the time. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”