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Worker dies after being ‘swallowed’ in plane engine at San Antonio airport

An airport worker died Friday after he was “swallowed” into the engine of a Delta flight at San Antonio International Airport, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Delta Flight 1111 had arrived at the airport and was heading to the gate on one engine around 10:25 p.m. when the fatal incident occurred, officials said. The plane, an Airbus A319, had just arrived from Los Angeles International Airport.

The worker was employed by Unifi, a company that Delta contracts with to support ground handling operations. The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that the victim was an airport ramp worker.

“We are devastated and mourn the loss of an aviation family member̵[ads1]7;s life in San Antonio,” a Delta spokesperson said. “Our hearts and full support are with your family, friends and loved ones at this difficult time.”

Unifi said that based on its own preliminary investigation, the incident did not appear to be related to the company’s operational processes, security procedures or policies.

Officials have not yet publicly identified the victim.

This is the second such incident in six months. A 34-year-old ground crew worker was killed after being “swallowed” into an airplane engine at the airport in Montgomery, Alabama late last year. The Norwegian Labor Inspectorate determined that the fatal incident could have been avoided if the safety procedures had been followed.

“Proper training and enforcement of safety procedures could have prevented this tragedy,” OSHA Area Director Jose A. Gonzalez in Mobile, Alabama said of the incident on December 31, 2022. “This incident is a tragic reminder that safety measures must be in place even for a routine mission.”

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