Baggage Handler Dies After Getting Hair Stuck in Airport Machinery

26-year-old baggage handler Jermani Thompson has died after her hair get stuck in machinery as she offloaded an aircraft at the New Orleans airport.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

Image via Getty/Chris Graythen

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

Jermani Thompson, a 26-year-old baggage handler, died after her hair get stuck in machinery as she offloaded an aircraft at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

As reported by CBS affiliate WWL-TV, Thompson was working as a supervisor and was unloading baggage from a Frontier Airlines flight on Wednesday. The Jefferson parish Coroner’s Office has confirmed that she died after her hair became entangled in one of the belt loaders. “We are heartbroken and supporting her family and her friends as best as we are able,” said Mike Hough, CEO of Thompson’s employer, GAT Airline Ground Support.

As a result of her death, Frontier Airlines had to cancel one flight from the airport on Wednesday but otherwise operated other flights  on schedule. The timeline of the incident is unclear, but Thompson was working with her team around 10:30 p.m. local time when the accident occurred. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

“We extend our deepest condolences following the tragic death of a team member of our ground handling business partner at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans,” said Frontier Airlines spokesperson Jennifer de la Cruz. “Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones during this difficult time.” The director of Armstrong International, Kevin Dolliole, added, “Jermani was a part of our Airport family, and we will continue to support one another in any way we can during this trying time.”

According to GAT Airline Ground Support’s employee handbook, it is recommended that long hair styles be “pulled back off the face and neck to avoid interfering with job performance.” It is not known if Thompson followed the employee handbook during the incident, but Hough said the company would “never prioritize on-time performance above safety.”

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