KENNER, Louisiana—Jermani Thompson, 26, was unloading a Frontier flight when her hair became stuck in a belt loader, leading to her death. The accident occurred around 10:20 p.m. at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans.
Reportedly, Thompson was working to offload an inbound flight after it landed as part of her job duties with GAT Airline Ground Support. GAT CEO Mike Hough stated the company is “heartbroken” to hear about Thompson’s passing, noting that what investigators know so far “is that her hair became entangled with the machinery of the belt loader.”
Investigation into the incident is still ongoing. No further details were made immediately available.
A more robust safety culture may have prevented Thompson’s untimely death, and the company must account for such actions
Thompson’s death appears, at first glance, as a “freak accident”—one that could never have been foreseen—and, although her death is certainly tragic, this accident is of the kind that likely could have been prevented with a better focus on safety.
Airlines and ground support crews must place a huge emphasis on safety simply due to the nature of their work around large, moving machinery. The tight time schedule of connecting flights makes it especially necessary for baggage handlers to load and unload planes quickly. Speed, however, must not come at the expense of safety, and companies like GAT may be responsible for unfortunate accidents like Thompson’s if they do not provide contractors with adequate safety resources and training.
Thompson’s family should consider consulting an attorney to further investigate the cause of this accident and the safety culture within GAT and its affiliate airlines. If employees like Thompson are being incentivized to disregard safety protocol in favor of faster performance, or if machinery like belt loaders are not being maintained safely, Thompson’s family could potentially bring a direct claim against GAT for negligence or wrongful death. Consulting an attorney would likely be the best way to uncover information about GAT’s safety culture and the circumstances surrounding Thompson’s accident.
Our firm can assist families of victims killed in tragic accidents by providing legal strategies to hold those accountable for the untimely death of a family member. We encourage Thompson’s family to consult an attorney experienced in negligence suits, especially those against large companies. Our attorneys are more than qualified to investigate Thompson’s death and get the surviving family the answers and justice they need in this difficult time.