Baggage Handler, 26, Dies After Hair Caught in Airport Machinery: ‘Everybody Loved Her’

A 26-year-old airport worker has died after her hair became caught in machinery at Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport (MSY) in Louisiana, per multiple reports.

According to FOX affiliate WVUE, the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office identified the victim as Jermani Thompson, who was in an area with parked planes when she became seriously injured at the airport on Tuesday night.

A spokesperson for her employer, GAT Airline Ground Support, told NBC affiliate WDSU that Thompson’s hair became tangled in a belt loader — a machine used to transfer baggage to and from an airplane — which led to fatal injuries.

At the time, Thompson was removing baggage from a Frontier Airlines flight, per NOLA.com.

Requests from PEOPLE to Frontier, GAT, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and MSY for comment were not immediately returned.

Thompson’s mother, Angela Dorsey, told NOLA.com that Thompson was a talented athlete who played basketball in high school and college. She earned her sociology degree from Tyagaloo College.

“She loved basketball,” the mother told the outlet. “She was my baby girl. Everybody loved her.”

“I’m just lost for words,” Dorsey added of her daughter’s death. “I can’t even think.”

In a statement sent to WDSU, Kevin Dolliole, Director of Aviation for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, called Thompson a part of the airport’s “family.”

“We are deeply saddened about the tragic loss of GAT Airline Ground Support team member, Jermani Thompson,” he said.

“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,” Dolliole added. “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.”

Mike Hough, GAT’s chief executive officer, told NOLA.com the company was in touch with Thompson’s family.

“We are heartbroken and are supporting her family and her friends as best as we are able,” Hough said.

Thompson’s sister-in-law, Nichole Branch, told NOLA.com that family members still have questions about how the tragedy unfolded.

“She went to work one morning and never made it home,” Branch said. “This is just so unreal right now.”

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