An Alaska Airlines flight made an emergency landing in Seattle Monday afternoon after pilots heard a person banging in the cargo hold of the Boeing 737aircraft. The person turned out to be a ramp worker. The man told authorities he had fallen asleep in the cargo hold, according to a statement from Alaska Airlines.
The incident occurred on Los Angeles-bound Flight 448, where Alaska Air says pilots “reported hearing banging from beneath the aircraft … immediately after takeoff.”
“The captain immediately returned to Seattle, declaring an emergency for priority landing.” The Boeing 737 was in the air for 14 minutes, according to the carrier.
Passengers apparently heard the worker, too.
“As we were taking off, the plane accelerated. The passengers in first class heard banging from underneath us and a person yelling for help,” Jesse Sycuro, a passenger on Flight 448, tells KING 5 TV of Seattle. “Two air marshals that were on board quickly jumped up and conferred with a flight attendant. That message was relayed up to the pilots. And shortly after that, we heard the announcement that the plane was going to be turned around. The banging continued for quite a while we were circling. … Air marshals banged back down trying to communicate with the person in the hold and yelling down that we were landing.”
Alaska Air says “after landing, a ramp agent was found inside the front cargo hold, which is pressurized and temperature controlled. The ramp agent appeared OK, and was transported to the hospital as a precaution.”
“Upon exiting, he told authorities he had fallen asleep,” Alaska Air adds in an updated statement.
Alaska Air says it is “actively investigating the matter.”