An airport ramp employee who fell asleep in the cargo hold of an Alaska Airlines aircraft has been discharged from hospital.
The flight to Los Angeles returned to Seattle shortly after departure after it was discovered that a ramp agent was still in the cargo hold.
The aircraft returned to Seattle after 14 minutes when the captain heard banging.
After landing, the agent walked off the aircraft from the front cargo hold, which is pressurised and temperature controlled.
He told authorities he had fallen asleep. The agent was transported to a local hospital as a precaution.
“We are actively investigating this matter,” the airline said.
The employee, who works for Alaska contractor Menzies Aviation, passed a drug test.
“The employee started work at 5am and was scheduled to end his shift at 2.30pm,” Air Alaska said. “During a pre-departure huddle, the team lead noticed the employee was missing.
“The team lead called into the cargo hold for the employee and called and texted the employee’s cell phone, but did not receive an answer. His co-workers believed he finished his shift and went home.”
Flight 448 departed for Los Angeles at 2.39pm yesterday with 170 passengers and six crew on board before returning to Seattle.
The aircraft finally landed in Los Angeles at 6.17pm.
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