A baggage handler was found in the cargo hold of a United Airlines plane after he was accidentally locked inside during an entire flight from North Carolina to the D.C. region.
The scare happened Sunday on United Express flight 6060 that flew from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to Dulles International Airport on New Year's Day.
United Airlines said in a statement:
"United Express flight 6060 operated by Mesa Airlines from Charlotte Douglas to Washington-Dulles (IAD) landed safely at IAD yesterday. Once at the gate, an employee of the airline's ground handling vendor was found unharmed in the aircraft's cargo hold. We are looking into what happened."
The worker reportedly works for G2 Secure Staff, a company that provides aircraft ground handling and ramp services.
In an audio recording of dispatch workers discussing the incident as it unfolded, they could be heard saying the baggage handler had forgotten his airport identification prompting a security concern. Ultimately, the worker's identity was confirmed.
"Officers called. They want to make sure the person involved is an employee and not a stowaway. They are also requesting a report," said one person in the recording.
Another dispatcher said, "There is no one stuck inside of the aircraft. He was a baggage loader at Charlotte Airport. They accidently locked him in the cargo area. There are no injuries. He's refusing of checking him out. We're all in service."
The flight crew did not recognize or remember seeing the trapped worker and the ordeal was initially investigated as a security incident.