Baggage handler Jermani Thompson was offloading a Frontier Airlines flight at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport Tuesday night when her hair got caught in a belt loader.
Ms. Thompson was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy has not yet been scheduled.
“Yesterday at approximately 10:20 PM, we had a fatality in our New Orleans operation. … We are heartbroken and are supporting her family and her friends as best as we are able,” Mike Hough, the CEO of Ms. Thompson’s employer, GAT Airline Ground Support, told WVUE-TV, a New Orleans Fox affiliate.
Ms. Thompson’s mother, Angela Dorsey, is still in shock after the freak accident.
“I just can’t believe it, you know, my only daughter is gone. I don’t believe it. It’s like, she just told me, ‘I see you when I come back,’” Ms. Dorsey told WVUE-TV.
Frontier Airlines canceled one flight on Wednesday morning in the wake of the incident but otherwise flew as scheduled.
“We extend our deepest condolences following the tragic death of a team member of our ground handling business partner,” Frontier Airlines spokesperson Jennifer de la Cruz told NOLA.com.
The airport also extended its condolences to Ms. Thompson’s bereaved relatives.
“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,” the airport’s Aviation Director Kevin Dolliole told WWL-TV, a New Orleans CBS affiliate.