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Wild Ride for This Baggage Handler

April 12, 2001|From Reuters

DALLAS — A baggage handler at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport took an unscheduled trip to Mexico on Wednesday when he was locked inside the rear cargo hold of a Champion Air passenger jet bound for Puerto Vallarta.

The man, whose name was not released, made the three-hour flight in the pressurized, air-conditioned compartment and emerged without problems and was in good condition, said Elizabeth Costello, a spokeswoman for the Bloomington, Minn.-based charter carrier.

An investigation was underway to determine how the man was locked in the hold of the Boeing 727 with 54 people aboard.

"We're anxious to learn the results of the investigation so as to prevent this from happening in the future," Champion chief executive Mike Gerend said in a statement.

The cargo door was slightly damaged by the trapped man as he tried to pound his way out before the flight. "He was obviously trying to get out," Costello said.

The pilots reported that they heard noises while luggage was being loaded in Dallas. They were assured by the ground crew that the noises were only the sound of suitcases being tossed aboard.

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