A plane departing from Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National Airport was slightly delayed Monday morning after passengers alerted the flight crew to shouts and pounding coming from under the plane, the frantic actions of an airport baggage handler who was accidentally locked into the airliner's cargo hold while loading luggage.
According to the New York Times, a fellow baggage handler closed the cargo compartment door, unknowingly trapping his colleague inside.
The trapped handler was also assigned to operate the tug that pushes the plane back from the gate, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. As workers waiting to move the plane noticed that the tug driver was missing, the co-pilot opened a side window and yelled to the ground crew that someone was 'yelling and pounding' from inside the cargo hold, the FAA said.
After the worker was freed unharmed, he drove the tug to push the plane back from the gate, and the plane, an Embraer E-170, left a few minutes early, completing its trip without further incident.