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A worker at a regional airport in Alabama died after he was “ingested into the engine” of an American Airlines jetliner in Alabama on Saturday, Dec. 31.

The victim, a ground worker at Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama, died after he was sucked into the Embraer 170’s engine at about 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31 at Montgomery Regional Airport. The flight from Dallas, operated by Envoy Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group, was parked at the gate and had its parking brake set at the time of the incident, New York Post reported.

According to the airport, the victim worked for Piedmont Airlines, another American regional subsidiary. The airport did not provide further details regarding the freak accident.

“We are saddened to hear about the tragic loss of a team member of the AA/Piedmont Airlines,” the airport’s executive director, Wade Davis, said in a statement after the incident.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time,” he added.

In a statement, American Airlines added that they were devastated by the incident.

“We are focused on ensuring that all involved have the support they need during this difficult time,” the company said.

Meanwhile, the company declined further comment about the ongoing investigation.

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are conducting a probe into the circumstances that led to the horrifying accident, the Guardian reported.

When a jet engine is operating, the air getting sucked into the intake can cause a low air pressure area. This low air pressure area can pull nearby people into the rotating blades. Generally, when the flight is parked, cones are placed near the engines to mark the boundaries of the hazard areas. The exact sizes of the hazard areas are provided in the plane’s operating manual.

For example, the hazard area for an Airbus A320 is 14 feet in front of and on the sides of the engine inlet.

However, it is rare for ground personnel to be sucked into engines because they are generally trained about the dangers of standing close to the engines and are told how to stand clear of them.

Meanwhile, the dead ground worker has not been identified. Further details of the accident have not been released by authorities.

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