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Airport worker sucked into jet engine warned to stand back

An American Eagle Embraer 170, similar to the aircraft involved in the incident.

An American Eagle Embraer 170, similar to the aircraft involved in the incident.
Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images (Getty Images)

Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report on a shocking event that took place at Alabama’s Montgomery Regional Airport. On New Year’s Eve 2022, an Envoy Air worker was killed after is sucked into the jet engine of an Embraer 170. NTSB investigators have now presented the sequence of events that led to the accident.

The plane involved in the fatal incident had landed after a flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Montgomery. While american eagle the flight was uneventful, the Embraer’s auxiliary power unit (APU) was inoperative during the flight. The APU powers all of the aircraft’s non-propulsion equipmentincluding electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic systems. As a result, the pilots chose to abandon the small airplane jet engines running until the aircraft was connected to ground power.

Reportedly, the ground crew was briefed twice that the plane’s jet engines would run while the plane was parked. The flight attendant even reminded the ramp agents of this through the cockpit window. The NTSB report states:

– The ground crew reported that a safety briefing was held approximately 10 minutes before the aircraft arrived at the gate. Another safety “haddle” was held shortly before the aircraft arrived at the gate, to reiterate that the engines would continue to run until ground power was connected. It was also discussed that the aircraft should not approach and the diamond of safety cones should not be set until the engines were off, coiled down and the aircraft’s rotating beacon lights had been extinguished by the flight crew.”

According to the NTSB, despite these warnings, video surveillance footage from the airport shows the unnamed ramp agent walking around the Embraer plane and stepping in front of the jet’s number one engine while it was still running. The footage shows the agent being dragged off his feet and into the turbine. The pilots felt the plane shake violently, and engine number one shut down automatically.

In accordance other workers on sitehad the ramp agent already been pushed across an aisle by the engine’s exhaust and warned to stay clear of the engines before the fatal incident took place.

The report notes that American Eagle employees the manual specifies “the entry zone for all types of aircraft is 15 feet,” and that personnel should not enter the ingestion zone until an aircraft’s engine or engines have completely cooled down and stopped.

The NTSBs the findings are preliminary, and more information may emerge as the investigation continues.

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