Friday, 17 April 2015

Baggage Handler Says Falling Luggage Woke Him

PHOTO: An airline worker is escorted to an ambulance after falling asleep in the cargo hold of an Alaska Airlines flight.
A baggage handler who fell asleep inside the cargo hold of an Alaska Airlines flight earlier this week says he awoke after the plane was in the air -- and only after a piece of luggage fell on top of him.

“It was nothing but pitch black and a loud noise,” the man, whose name has not been made public, “So I was scared, and I didn’t know what was going on.”
“When the bags started moving and I heard the sound of the engine, I had to think fast about what to do for me to get out,” he said of Monday's incident.

After the man -- a ramp agent with Menzies Aviation, which contracts with airlines to handle baggage -– realized his predicament, he called 911 on his cell phone.
"I'm inside a plane, and I feel like it's moving in the air. Flight 448. Can you please have somebody stop it?" he said, according to audio from the call released Thursday.
The dispatcher expressed confusion in the man’s location, and the call was lost after 44 seconds.
The baggage handler could also be heard banging, with the knocking sound audible for the plane’s passengers and crew.
The plane, which was headed to Los Angeles, returned to Seattle after 14 minutes in the air.
While the baggage handler wasn’t injured, Alaska Airlines released a statement Thursday announcing that he has been permanently banned from working on the airline’s flights.