An airport worker died Friday after he was “ingested” into the engine of a Delta plane at San Antonio International Airport, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
Delta Flight 1111 had arrived at the airport and was taxiing to the gate on one engine around 10:25 p.m. when the deadly incident happened, 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 heartbroken and grieving the loss of an aviation family member’s life in San Antonio,” a Delta spokesperson said. “Our hearts and full support are with their family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.”
Unifi said that based on their own preliminary investigation, the incident did not appear to be related to company operational processes, safety procedures or policies.
Officials have not yet publicly identified the victim.
This is the second type of this incident in six months. A 34-year-old ground crew worker was killed after being “ingested” into a plane engine at the Montgomery, Alabama, airport at the end of last year. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that the deadly incident could have been avoided if safety procedures were followed.
“Proper training and enforcement of safety procedures could have prevented this tragedy,” OSHA Area Director Jose A. Gonzalez in Mobile, Alabama said about the Dec. 31, 2022 incident. “This incident is a tragic reminder that safety measures must be in place even for a routine assignment.”