Jermani Thompson Louisiana baggage handler fatally scalped in workplace ‘freak accident’ after getting her hair caught in a belt loader while unloading luggage at New Orleans airport.
Jermani Thompson, 26, of Reserve, had been working at New Orleans Airport when her hair tangled in the transporter, Tuesday night, August 30th, while unloaded a recently arrived Frontier Airlines plane.
The worker had been working on the apron, an area where the aircraft is parked, loaded, unloaded, refueled, boarded and maintained.
Officials say that she was rushed to hospital shortly after the incident at around 10pm but passed away soon after.
Her body was identified by the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office, and a spokesman for the airport confirmed the accident.
A spokesman for GAT Airline Ground Support, where she was employed, said her hair got caught in the belt loader according to a released statement to WVUE-TV.
They said: ‘We are heartbroken and are supporting her family and her friends as best as we are able.
‘Please send your well wishes to everyone at our New Orleans station during this very difficult time.’
Frontier Airlines canceled one flight on Wednesday morning in the wake of the accident but all other flights operated on schedule.
Told a spokesperson for the airline carrier in a statement to Nola.com: ‘We extend our deepest condolences following the tragic death of a team member of our ground handling business partner at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans.
‘Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones during this difficult time.’
Kevin Dolliole, Director of Aviation for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport added: ‘We are deeply saddened about the tragic loss of GAT Airline Ground Support team member, Jermani Thompson.
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‘The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport extends its sincere condolences to her family and friends, and also to our partners at GAT and Fontier Airlines.
‘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 victim’s mother said that Thompson was an accomplished basketball player, who had played as Hesston College in Kansas and Tougaloo College in Mississippi.
‘She was my baby girl. Everybody loved her,’ Angela Dorsey told Nola.com. ‘I’m just lost for words. I can’t even think.’
The former women’s basketball coach at Hesston College, Daniel Harrison, described Thompson as having ‘no quit in her.’ ‘She was the kind of kid who was always smiling, a great teammate,’ the former coach said.
Nichole Branch, Thompson’s sister-in-law, added, ‘She was the sweetest person. She was a hard worker who always went after her goals.’
Not immediately clear is how the airport worker came to get her hair caught in the conveyance belt and to what degree safety protocol was enforced.
Authorities continue to investigate.