Details of the accident will become clearer following an FAA and NTSB investigation.
A baggage handler at Montgomery Regional Airport was killed after being sucked into the engine of an American Airlines regional aircraft. The airport shut down for several hours after the accident as the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board launch an investigation.
While details about the accident are still sparse, Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM) has confirmed that a Piedmont Airlines (a subsidiary of American Airlines) ground crew employee was killed after an “industrial accident.” The Washington Examiner reports that the individual, believed to be a baggage handler, died after they were sucked into an engine of an American Airlines plane.
Piedmont Airlines said,
“Today a Piedmont Airlines team member was involved in a fatal accident at Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM). Our thoughts and prayers are with our colleague’s family and friends. We have mobilized our CARE team to provide support to our colleague’s family, friends and co-workers.”
The tragic accident happened at around 15:00 on Saturday, December 31st as Flight AA3408 from Montgomery to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) waited at the gate. The aircraft, an Embraer ERJ-175LR operated by AA subsidiary Envoy Air, was scheduled to depart MGM at 15:46 – the flight was understandably canceled and the airport closed for several hours before reopening on Saturday evening at around 20:30.
Wade A. Davis, Executive Director of MGM, added,
“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.”
Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have launched an investigation into the accident. At this early stage, it’s unclear who was at fault for the tragedy – a report by Reuters claims that two people briefed on the investigation said “the employee was killed in an accident involving one of the airplane’s engines that was running.”
Ground accidents are very rare but unfortunately do happen – as Simple Flying reported in August, a Russian airport worker was killed by an Antonov An-24 propeller operated by UTair. Another tragic accident in the US also occurred in August – a baggage handler at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport was killed while unloading baggage from a Frontier Airlines flight after her hair got stuck in the machinery of a belt loader.
The plane involved in the accident is a four-year-old Envoy Air Embraer ERJ-175LR (registration: N264NN). The aircraft remains on the ground after the accident.
American Airlines, the owner of Envoy Air and Piedmont Airlines, said,
“[We are] 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.”
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