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Delta Air ‘Heartbroken’ After Worker Was ‘Ingested’ Into Aircraft Engine at San Antonio Airport On Friday Night

Delta Air ‘Heartbroken’ After Worker Was ‘Ingested’ Into Aircraft Engine at San Antonio Airport On Friday Night

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Delta Air Lines says the company has been left “heartbroken” after a ground worker at San Antonio International Airport was killed on Friday night when they were sucked into the engine of an airplane which was taxiing to the gate.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says it has opened an investigation into the horrific accident which snarled flights on Saturday and has grounded the aircraft which killed the worker.

The accident involved Delta flight DL1111 which had just arrived from Los Angeles at around 10:19 pm on Friday evening. The 19-year-old Airbus A319 single-aisle plane was taxiing to the gate on a single engine when the worker was ‘ingested’ and killed.

The victim has not yet been identified, but Delta confirmed that the worker was employed by a third-party ground handling company that the airline uses to handle its flights in San Antonio.

The accident comes just six months after a ground worker at Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama was killed when they were sucked into the engine of an Embraer E175LR regional jet operated by a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines.

In a statement, the NTSB explained: “Delta Flight 1111 was taxying to the gate, with one engine on at that time, and a worker was ingested into that engine at 10:25 pm. The NTSB has been in contact with Delta. They are in the information-gathering process at this point.”

A spokesperson for Delta Air added: “We are heartbroken and grieving the loss of an aviation family member’s life in San Antonio.”

The statement continued: “Our hearts and full support are with their family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.”

The company that employed the victim said they currently believe that the accident was unrelated to their “operational processes, safety procedures and policies.” A spokesperson for Unifi Aviation, however, said the company wasn’t willing to share further information while the investigation was ongoing.

Piedmont Air, which was involved in the New Year’s Eve accident in Alabama, was recently fined at least $15,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after it determined that it properly failed to train the victim to avoid hazards around an idle but active aircraft.

The victim, 34-year-old Courtney Edwards, was swept off her feet and ingested into the aircraft engine after she walked in front of the aircraft having just arrived at the gate.


View Comments (2)
  • Billy Bob’s comment is typical of the abyssimal ignorance of the dangers that exist in the planeside working environment. Hopefully, it is deleted and you are left to wonder, “What’s this comment about?”

    The fact of the matter is that the forces associated with a running jet turbine, both the ingestion and exhaust, are referred to as engine danger zones. These are largely invisible and strategies exist to help employees remain vigilant and able to understand when these dangers are present. Unfortunately, after dark, even on a well-lighted ramp, it is often hard to know exactly when these engines are running and dangerous. Most Airlines, and I’m sure Delta is no exception, leave the rotating red beacons on until the engines have been shut down. Also, it is standard operating procedure the world over to never approach an airplane until it has stopped and the engines are shut down. Only thorough investigation will reveal what happened in this case.

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