Back in 2015 there was an Alaska Airlines plane that had a ramp worker stuck in the cargo hold under the aircraft. The worker had been napping in the aircraft and woke up sometime when the aircraft was about to take off bound for Los Angles. The story ends up with the plane actually turning around and landing in Seattle after passengers heard his banging on the floor of the plane and the captain turned the plane around.
Thankfully for the worker the 737 is pressurized and climate controlled not only in the passenger area but also the cargo hold and he was not in really any danger. Honestly I’d probably want to sit next to someone’s bags on a plane than the actual passenger.
While we got all the reports from the public view of the incident a newly released audio recording is now available that shows the confusion by 9-1-1 operators when this man decided to call shortly after takeoff.
When the video starts it’s already starting to lose cellphone reception from the fast moving aircraft climbing higher and higher and shortly you have him losing reception all together. The process from there, which you can hear, is the operator tried to call the cellphone back but it was likely out of range and unable to receive signal.
9-1-1 operators have the valuable power of requesting subscriber information for a 9-1-1 hangup in order to find out who called the line. As you can hear the operator calls Verizon (as the man was using a Verizon phone) and she quickly gets all the subscriber details about the man.
What’s not clear in the video but makes more sense when you hear it, most 9-1-1 operators can see the location of a call to verify its location. That was the case with this call except the cellphone tower that the man was using when he called was miles away from the airport in the departure path of the airplane.
After gathering all this information the operator calls Port of Seattle police to inform them of the situation, by then the captain had already declared an emergency and headed back to Seattle and landed safely.
Not everyday does a 9-1-1 operator get a call about a man stuck in a cargo hold of an aircraft.