A baggage handler at a New Orleans airport was killed in a horrific accident after her hair got tangled in a conveyer belt, officials said on Wednesday. Jermani Thompson, 26, was unloading a Frontier Airlines plane parked at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport on Tuesday, when her hair got tangled in the transporter, according to WVUE-TV.
Thompson was rushed to the hospital shortly after the accident, at around 10 p.m., according to officials, but she died soon after. The Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office recognized her body, and an airport spokeswoman verified the mishap. Following the incident, Frontier Airlines canceled one flight on Wednesday morning.
The horrifying incident occurred on the "apron," where planes are maintained, loaded, and unloaded, according to the station. To ascertain the official cause of death, the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office will conduct an autopsy.
The news of Thompson's unexpected death has devastated her family, friends, and workplace.
Frontier Airlines also acknowledged the tragic indent and said in a statement, "We extend our deepest condolences following the tragic death of a death member of our ground handling business partner."
"Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones during this difficult time."
A spokesman for GAT Airline Ground Support, where she was employed, say her hair got caught in the belt loader. GAT is a company that provides on-the-ground support for several airlines.
"We are deeply saddened about the tragic loss of GAT Airline Ground Support team member, Jermani Thompson," said Kevin Dolliole, Director of Aviation for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
"The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport extends its sincere condolences to her family and friends, and also to our partners at GAT and Frontier 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."
Too Young to Die
According to reports, Thompson worked for GAT Airline Ground Support. Thompson was a skilled basketball player who had competed for Hesston College in Kansas and Tougaloo College in Mississippi, according to her distraught mother, who spoke to WVUE-TV.
"She loved basketball," her mother, Angela Dorsey, told nola.com.
"She was my baby girl. Everybody loved her. I'm just lost for words. I can't even think."
Stasha Thomas-James, a former assistant basketball coach at Thompson's high school, recalled to the outlet how Thompson progressed from being a little girl playing around for fun to being team captain in her final year of high school.
"She was a great shooter, could shoot threes and played hard, played tough," Thomas-James said, adding, "She had a great attitude."
Daniel Harrison, Thompson's previous head coach at Hesston College, echoed similar sentiments. "She was the kind of kid who was always smiling, a great teammate.
"She wasn't the biggest or the tallest. But whenever she went on the floor, she gave me everything she had. There was no quit in her, no matter what the score was."