United Airlines Employee Found Trapped in Cargo Hold After Flight
A United Airlines employee was found trapped in a cargo hold of the aircraft after a flight from North Carolina to Virginia, according to the Daily Mail.
According to reports, a United Airlines employee was found on United Airlines Express flight 6060 (operated by Mesa), which flew from Charlotte, North Carolina to Washington Dulles, in the cargo hold of the aircraft. The ground handler was discovered after arrival at the gate at Dulles, where a United Airlines employee there found the employee. The report in the Daily Mail reported that the employee was a vendor employee.
United Airlines says that it is investigating the incident and the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority did not comment.
Getting trapped in the cargo hold has happened before, including in 2015 when an Alaska airlines employee fell asleep in the cargo hold.
According to an ABC News report on that incident,
Once the plane took off with the unidentified handler inside, Nance said that the noise from the engines would have been extremely loud, even if the man was wearing headphones or earplugs like many baggage handlers regularly wear while loading luggage on and off planes.
“You’d want to have plugs on the ramp. That’s a job ender if you don’t, because you can damage your hearing in three days,” Nance said. “Whether that contributed to the problem or not, we don’t know.”
The handler reportedly began banging the top of the cargo hold, which is directly beneath the floor of the passenger cabin, to alert the passengers.
Aside from the mountains of bags, the only other company that the handler could have had in the hold were any pets that had been checked beneath deck, and there’s no way of knowing whether or not those animals would have been conscious or not. Airlines and vets tell pet owners not to drug their pets for flights, Nance said, but that doesn’t stop some from giving their animals medication anyway.
It will be interesting to see how this happened, once the United Airlines investigation is complete.