DC Baggage Handler Trapped in Plane's Cargo Hold

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A baggage handler got trapped in the cargo hold of a US Airways flight about to depart from Washington Reagan Nation Airport, and was only freed when passengers heard him screaming and pounding.

The Embraer 170, with 29 passengers onboard, was preparing to fly to Hartford, when passengers alerted a flight attendant that there were unusual noises coming from under the floor, reports The New York Times.

The newspaper says another baggage handler had closed the door to the airplane's cargo hold without realizing a co-worker was inside loading bags. The space in the hold was only 37 inches high.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says in a statement the trapped baggage handler was also supposed to operate the tug that pushes the plane back from the gate, and workers noticed he was missing as they waited to move the plane.

The co-pilot on the flight opened a window and yelled to those on the ground that someone was yelling from inside the cargo hold, the FAA says.

After the compartment was opened, the worker climbed out and drove the tug, and the flight left for Hartford.

US Airways says it is investigating the incident.

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