According to airport spokesperson Erin Burns, Jermani Thompson was an employee of GAT Airline Ground Support and was working when her hair became tangled in the belt loader on the apron, where airplanes are boarded, loaded, unloaded, and refueled, around 10:20 p.m.
Thompson was unloading baggage from a flight on Frontier Airlines when the accident occurred. She was taken to the Ochsner Medical Center Kenner, where she was later pronounced dead.
According to Frontier spokesperson Jennifer de la Cruz, Frontier Airlines canceled a flight on Wednesday following the tragic accident. The airline also released a statement saying their thoughts and prayers were with Thompson’s family.
“We extend our deepest condolences following the tragic death of a team member of our ground handling business partner,” read the statement. “Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones during this difficult time.”
A co-worker told the outlet that no one could stop crying about the incident and that he couldn’t get the image of Thompson caught in the belt loader out of his mind.
Thomson’s mother, Angela Dorsey, told WSDU that her daughter died en route to the hospital.
“The doctor said that her hair got stuck in the conveyer and they say they tried to cut her hair but they couldn’t. She died on her way to the hospital.” Dorsey added that she had spoken to her daughter before her shift.
“She said, ‘Mom, I’m on my way to work.’ I said, ‘OK, I see you when you get home.” Dorsey said.
“She loved basketball — that was her thing.”
The Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office will perform an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death in the coming days.