Business & Economy

Airport worker trapped in cargo hold passes drug test

Alaska Airlines 737 lifting off from Anchorage International Airport.
Alaska Airlines 737 lifting off from Anchorage International Airport.
Stock Photo: Frank Kovalchek via Flickr

Alaska Airlines says an airport worker who fell asleep, found himself trapped in a plane's cargo hold and forced a Los Angeles-bound flight to return to Seattle has passed a drug test.

Airline spokesman Bryan Zidar says the ramp agent employed by Alaska contractor Menzies Aviation was checked at a hospital and released. He then passed a drug test. The airline did not identify him. Menzies did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

The airline says Flight 448 had just taken off Monday afternoon when the pilot heard banging from down below and returned to Seattle-Tacoma International. The man was in the front cargo hold, which is pressurized and temperature-controlled.

Alaska says the man started work at 5 a.m. Monday and was due off at 2:30 p.m. He was part of a four-person team loading baggage. Before the plane departed, the leader of the man's team noticed he was missing, called into the cargo hold and called and texted the man's cellphone but got no answer. Co-workers decided he had finished his shift and gone home.