An airport worker who fell asleep and found himself trapped in a
plane’s cargo hold forced a Los Angeles-bound Alaska Airlines flight to
return to Seattle on Monday afternoon. Flight 448 had just taken
off Monday afternoon when the pilot heard banging from down below, the
airline said in a news release. The captain immediately returned to
Seattle-Tacoma International and declared an emergency for priority
walk with a Menzies Aviation cargo worker after the worker was removed
from the cargo hold of an Alaska Airlines passenger airplane. Photo /
KIRO 7 via AP
After the plane landed a ramp agent came out from the
front cargo hold, which Alaska says is pressurized and
“Upon exiting, he told authorities he had fallen asleep,” the airline said.
The worker, an employee of Menzies Aviation, walked off the plane and appeared OK, but was taken to a hospital as a precaution.
Alaska said it is still investigating the incident. The plane was airborne for 14 minutes.
Passenger Marty Collins told KOMO-TV in Seattle the flight was surrounded by emergency vehicles when it returned to the airport.
She said passengers did not hear the worker banging or making noise.
on the plane heard anything like that, nobody knew why we were turning
around,” Collins told the station. “They just said we were fine and we
weren’t in any danger.”
Passengers were later told about the situation.
“They just said there was someone in the cargo hold and he’s been escorted off and taken away,” she said.
The flight departed again at 3:52 p.m., according to the airline’s website.