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Worker Trapped in Plane's Cargo Hold for 300-Mile Flight

The FAA and airline are investigating how it happened
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 3, 2017 6:59 PM CST

(Newser) – Federal authorities and airline officials are investigating the odd flight of a baggage handler who wound up in the cargo hold of a plane for more than 300 miles, the AP reports. The FAA said it would determine whether the man's cargo-loading company followed proper procedures to make sure that all employees were out of the cargo hold before the doors were closed and the plane took off for an 80-minute flight. The man was found unharmed after the United Express flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, landed Sunday at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC. The cargo hold was temperature-controlled and pressurized, United Airlines spokesperson Erin Benson said.

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Rob Yingling, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, said that medics met the plane when it arrived Sunday afternoon but determined that the baggage handler did not need treatment. Dulles Airport police conducted a brief investigation. Since the man had proper identification as a Charlotte airport employee and was not charged with a crime, he was released, Yingling said. "I thank God," the baggage handler tells the Washington Post. "He was with me." (Read more baggage handling stories.)

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