In US Plane makes emergency landing after taking off with worker trapped in cargo hold

The pilot of flight 448, bound for Los Angeles, was alerted by the sound of banging "from beneath the aircraft".

  • Published:
play (Airline Reporter)
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An Alaska Airline plane was forced to make a priority landing in Seattle after erroneously taking off with a baggage handler trapped in the cargo hold of the plane.

Said worker had reportedly fallen asleep inside the pressurised hold and emerged seemingly unharmed from the hold once the plane was back on the ground. He however went to the hospital as a precaution, according to a statement from the airline. The airline later said the worker had passed a drugs test and been released from hospital.

In a statement from Alaska Airlines, the pilot of flight 448, bound for Los Angeles, was alerted by the sound of banging "from beneath the aircraft".

Back on the ground, the worker's team leader had noticed that the man was missing before the plane took off. He had called into the cargo hold and rang the worker's mobile phone but did not get an answer.

According to Alaska Airlines, "his co-workers believed he finished his shift and went home."

The airline further said the worker, employed by Menzies Aviation, started work at 05:00 local time and was due off at 14:30, but fell asleep in the cargo hold. The compartment was pressurised, so survivable at altitude, and was temperature-controlled.

BBC reports that the Boeing 737 aircraft had taken off from Seattle with 170 passengers on board, and was airborne for 14 minutes.

Meanwhile passengers on board the flight said they did not hear the trapped worker banging the door and had no idea why they were turning around.

They were however assured by the flight crew that they were safe and fine.

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