Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM) Tragedy Under Investigation

A baggage handler in the employ of Piedmont Airlines—a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines group—lost his life on 31 December 2022 after reportedly being ingested into the operating turbine engine of an Embraer E175LR regional jet parked on the ramp of Alabama’s Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM).

A variant of Embraer’s popular E-Jet family of four-abreast, narrow-body, short-to-medium-range, twin-engine airliners, the four-year-old E175LR involved in the accident was operated by Envoy Air—another American Airlines subsidiary, the aircraft of which operate under the American Eagle brand.

Designated American Airlines Flight 3408, the E175LR was slated to depart MGM’s Gate 4 at 15:46 CST and proceed nonstop to DFW. The flight, for reasons glaringly self-evident, was canceled.

Numerous unsubstantiated online reports suggest the baggage handler—the name of whom remains undisclosed—was sucked into the regional jet’s engine. Social media buzz notwithstanding, the official cause of the individual’s death has yet to be confirmed.

In the hours following the tragedy, Montgomery Regional Airport set forth in a statement: “Today around 3 pm an American Airlines ground crew Piedmont employee was involved in a fatality. No additional information is available at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased.”

MGM executive director Wade A. Davis remarked: “We are saddened to hear about the tragic loss of a team member of AA/Piedmont Airlines. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”

American Airlines, too, condoled the worker’s death, stating: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and our local team members. We are focused on ensuring that all involved have the support they need during this difficult time.”

Citing the nascency of requisite investigations, American Airlines declined to provide further details pertaining to the accident. Piedmont Airlines is said to be “fully engaged” with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Aviation Administration, and local law enforcement agencies.

The accident occasioned a four-hour stoppage of flight operations into and out of MGM. Aircraft arrivals and departures resumed at 20:30 CST.

Aero-News Network extends its condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.