Several high-profile near-misses and minor ground collisions over the last few months have made improving safety a priority for the country’s airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration. An airline employee who died recently on the tarmac at an airport is one of the latest examples of why that is needed.
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The Austin American-Stateman reported that an American Airlines employee was killed in an incident Thursday at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. According to the Austin Police Department, the employee was operating a ground service vehicle and crashed into a jet bridge near Gate 24. Austin-Travis County EMS was dispatched to the scene around 2:00 p.m. local time, and medics declared the employee dead at the scene. ATCEMS stated the death was caused by traumatic injuries, though the agency didn’t go into further detail on how the employee received their injuries. Police are investigating the incident as an accidental death.
American Airlines released a statement about the death:
“We are devastated by the accident involving a team member at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and our local team members. We are focused on ensuring that all involved have the support they need during this difficult time.”
It isn’t the only workplace death in the airline industry in recent months. On New Year’s Eve, a Piedmont Airlines ramp worker was sucked into an Embraer 170’s jet engine at Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama. Piemont is a regional airline operating American Eagle flights and a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Airlines.