American Airlines ground crew worker dies after being 'ingested into the engine' of plane at Alabama airport

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A ground crew worker at the Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama was killed over the weekend after being "ingested into the engine" of a plane that had recently landed from Texas, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed in a statement provided to news outlets Monday. 

The aircraft, which reportedly recently landed from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, was parked at the gate with its parking brake on "when a ground support personnel was ingested into the engine," the statement said. "The NTSB has opened an investigation into the accident."

In its initial statement Saturday, the Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM) said an "industrial accident" unfolded around 3 p.m. that day, killing a ground crew employee for Piedmont Airlines, which is a subsidiary of the American Airlines Group. The airport offered no additional information about the fatality at that time but tweeted, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased." 

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NTSB, which is leading the investigation, said local authorities would release the name of the worker killed. The person has yet to be identified as of Tuesday morning. 

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is also assisting the probe, clocked the incident around 2:20 p.m. Saturday, saying it occurred on the airport ramp near an American Airlines Embraer E175. 

A Piedmont Airlines ground crew worker was killed at Alabama’s Montgomery Regional Airport Saturday after being “ingested” into an engine. (WAKA)

The FAA clocked the incident around 2:20 p.m. Saturday, saying it occurred on the airport ramp near an American Airlines Embraer E175. (WAKA)

"We are focused on ensuring that all involved have the support they need during this difficult time," American Airlines said in a statement obtained by the "Today" show. 

According to The Montgomery Advertiser, the incident involved a parked Embraer E175 for American Airlines flight 3408, operated by regional carrier Envoy Air. The newspaper reported that the flight had been scheduled for a 3:51 p.m. departure back to Dallas but was canceled as a result of the fatality. 

All inbound and outbound flights were initially grounded at Alabama’s Montgomery Regional Airport, but operations resumed around 9 p.m. Saturday. (WAKA)

A ground crew member prepares to help push an American Airlines flight away from its gate at Miami International Airport on Dec. 29, 2020 in Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images / Getty Images)

"We are saddened to hear about the tragic loss of a team member of the AA/Piedmont Airlines," MGM Executive Director Wade A. Davis said Saturday. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time."

All inbound and outbound flights were initially grounded, but airport operations resumed around 9 p.m. Saturday. 

The airport tweeted Sunday that all luggage had been made available to passengers of AA/Piedmont flight 3408, and they could retrieve baggage directly from the American Airlines ticket counter.

Montgomery Regional Airport offers nonstop flights to Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas; and Washington, D.C. 

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A civil-military airport located about seven miles outside the capital of Alabama, it serves the region with daily flights by American and Delta Airlines. 

Fox News Digital reached out Tuesday to NTSB and American Airlines for more information. 

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