Airport worker killed after being sucked into jet engine was repeatedly warned to stay away from it

Daisy Phillipson

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Airport worker killed after being sucked into jet engine was repeatedly warned to stay away from it

Featured Image Credit: Jim West/Richard Prudhomme/Alamy

An airport worker who was killed after being sucked into a plane's jet engine was repeatedly warned to stay away from it, according to an investigation.

The shocking incident unfolded at Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama on 31 December, following what was otherwise reported as an 'uneventful' domestic passenger flight from Dallas, Texas.

According to a preliminary report by federal investigators, the 63 passengers and employees onboard the Envoy Air operated flight 'were uninjured'.

Crew members explained that once the plane had safely landed, they left both engines running for a required two-minute cool down period.

The employee was killed after walking too close to an active jet engine. Credit: WSFA 12 News
The employee was killed after walking too close to an active jet engine. Credit: WSFA 12 News

But as was shown in surveillance footage, the employee, whose identity has not been revealed, suffered a horrific fate after walking directly in front of one of the active engines at around 3.40pm that day.

The report stated: "She was subsequently pulled off her feet and into the operating engine."

During this time, the captain said he felt the airplane 'shake violently' while a ramp agent heard a 'bang' before the engine went out.

As is shown in the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary findings, the ground crew were warned numerous times that the engines could still be running.

Credit:  Thomas LENNE / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Thomas LENNE / Alamy Stock Photo

"It was also discussed that the airplane should not be approached, and the diamond of safety cones should not be set until the engines were off, spooled down, and the airplane’s rotating beacon light had been extinguished by the flight crew," the document says.

It goes on to highlight official safety advice in these situations, stating: "Jet engines spin with powerful speed and are extremely dangerous until spooled down.

"The area in front of the engine is called the ingestion zone. The ingestion zone for all aircraft types is 15

feet.

"You must never enter the ingestion zone until the engine has spooled down. The engine must be spooled down before entering the ingestion zone. This can take between 30-60 seconds, depending on aircraft type."

Whether you're a passenger or employee, you must wait until you are able to 'clearly see the individual fan blades' before entering the ingestion zone.

Nobody else was harmed in the tragic accident. Credit: WSFA 12 News
Nobody else was harmed in the tragic accident. Credit: WSFA 12 News

More information about the incident is expected as the investigation continues.

When news of the accident broke, American Airlines – the parent company of Envoy Air – issued a statement, telling Insider it was 'devastated by the accident involving a team member'.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and our local team members," it said. "We are focused on ensuring that all involved have the support they need during this difficult time."

UNILAD has reached out to Envoy Air and Montgomery Regional Airport for comment.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677

Topics: News, US News, Travel

Daisy Phillipson
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