26-year-old Jermani Thompson, who worked as a baggage handler at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, has died following a freak accident in which her hair got caught in a belt loader, WVUE reports.
The incident occurred late Tuesday night at around 10 PM on the apron, an area where the plane is parked and prepared for take-off or landing, bags are loaded or unloaded, and the plane is refueled or maintained. According to GAT Airline Ground Support, Thompson’s employer, the former basketball player was working to offload a Frontier Airlines plane that had just landed. There, her hair got tangled in the machinery of a belt loader.
She was transported to a Ochsner Medical Center Kenner where she was pronounced dead.
“We are heartbroken and are supporting her family and her friends as best as we are able,” said Mike Hough, CEO of GAT Airline Ground Support in a statement. “Please send your well wishes to everyone at our New Orleans station during this very difficult time.”
Frontier Airlines also issued a statement about the tragic accident.
“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,” a spokesperson for Frontier Airlines said.
Kevin Dolliole, the airport’s Director of Aviation, spoke out about Thompson’s passing as well.
“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,” he said.
The 26-year-old’s mother, Angela Dorsey, said that her daughter was a graduate of Tougaloo College in Mississippi and loved playing basketball, NOLA reports.
“She was my baby girl. Everybody loved her,” she told the outlet.
The pain Dorsey is in is indescribable.
“I’m just lost for words. I can’t even think,” says the grieving mother.