In a devastating incident that unfolded at San Antonio International Airport on Friday night, an airport worker lost their life after being “ingested” into a jet engine of a Delta Air Lines aircraft. Emergency responders rushed to the scene following the distressing incident, which occurred at approximately 10:25 p.m., as reported by KENS5.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the aircraft had recently arrived from Los Angeles and was operating with only one engine when the worker was fatally injured. The NTSB released a statement acknowledging their contact with Delta Airlines, as the investigative process begins.
The victim was an employee of Unifi Aviation, a ground handling support company contracted by Delta Air Lines and other airlines. Delta Air Lines expressed its deep condolences and pledged full cooperation with the ongoing investigations into the tragic occurrence.
Unifi Aviation also issued a statement expressing their profound sadness over the loss of their employee during the late hours of Friday, June 23, 2023. They extended their heartfelt sympathies to the deceased worker’s family and emphasized their commitment to supporting their ground staff during this difficult time.
The company denied any operational negligence, stating that preliminary investigations indicated the incident was unrelated to their operational processes, safety procedures, and policies. Out of respect for the deceased, they refrained from providing further details, deferring to the police and other officials leading the investigation.
However, according to the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office, the cause of death is listed as blunt and sharp force injuries. In a phone call with CNN, the Examiner’s Office stated that the manner of death is listed as suicide.
Airport officials joined the aviation community in expressing their profound grief over the incident and affirmed their cooperation with the authorities in the ongoing investigation. They highlighted the importance of safety and pledged to work closely with all stakeholders to prevent such tragic events from occurring in the future.
This incident has brought attention to the issue of worker safety in the aviation industry. It follows a recent investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which found Piedmont Airlines, an American Airlines subsidiary, responsible for the death of a ground agent at an Alabama airport on New Year’s Eve. OSHA fined Piedmont Airlines over $15,000 in connection with the incident.
The aviation community mourns the loss of the airport worker and stands united in their commitment to improving safety standards to protect the lives of those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the smooth functioning of the industry.