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Airport worker dies after being ‘swallowed’ into Delta plane engine

An airline ground worker died Friday at San Antonio International Airport after being sucked into the engine of an arriving plane, authorities said.

Delta Flight 111 arrived in Texas from Los Angeles around 10:30 p.m. Friday. As the Airbus A319 headed for the gate, a ramp worker was “swallowed” into the plane’s engine, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The employee, whose name has not been released, worked for Unifi, a company Delta contracts with for ground handling operations.

“Our hearts go out to the family of those who died and we remain focused on supporting our employees on the ground and making sure they are cared for during this time,” Unifi said in a statement. “From our initial investigation, this incident was unrelated to Unifi’s operational processes, security procedures, and policies. Out of respect for the deceased, we will not share any additional information.”

A Delta spokesperson told NBC News the company was “grieving” the loss.

“We are heartbroken and saddened by the loss of life of a member of the aviation family in San Antonio. Our hearts and all our support go out to his family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time,” the Delta spokesperson said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB are investigating this incident.

WOIA, an NBC affiliate in San Antonio, reports The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office said Monday the worker’s death was ruled a suicide. The station said the office doctor “saw signs that pointed to suicide.”

This is the second incident in less than a year in which an airline worker has been sucked into an aircraft engine and killed. On December 31, 2022, an Alabama airport employee was pulled into a running jet engine at the Montgomery Regional Airport, NBC News reported.

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