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Plane passenger found dead after crawling inside jet engine


The death of a man who crawled into the engine of a Delta Air Lines plane on the ground at Salt Lake City International Airport late Monday is being investigated by Utah police.

The airport says the 30-year-old man got onto the secure ramp area of the airport through a terminal emergency exit, “ran to the south end of the airport’s west runway where deicing operations were underway and crawled into an aircraft engine that was not running.”

Emergency responders found the man “unconscious and were not able to revive him,” the airport said. “It is unclear at this time what injuries caused the man’s death.”

The man has been identified as Kyler Efinger, a resident of Park City, Utah, according to the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Efinger had a boarding pass for a flight to Denver, the department said.

Delta Air Lines says Flight 2348 — an Airbus A220 about to depart for San Francisco — then returned to the gate, where all 95 passengers deplaned. The flight was ultimately canceled.

Police responded to the airport around 10 p.m. after a store manger inside the airport called 911 to report a disturbance involving a passenger inside a terminal, police said in a release. The details of the disturbance are still under investigation.

The passenger, Efinger, had gone through one of the terminal’s emergency exit doors and onto the airport’s outdoor ramp area, police said.

During the search, a pilot reported seeing the man, the release said. Minutes later, officers found personal items on one of the runways, including clothes and shoes.

About 10 minutes into the search, dispatchers notified police the man was at one of the airport’s plane de-icing pads, where he went under a plane and accessed the engine, police said. Police then asked air traffic controllers to tell the pilot to shut down the aircraft’s engines.

When officers arrived at the plane, they found Efinger unconscious and “partially inside” one of the commercial plane’s wing-mounted engines, which were still rotating, police said, noting “the specific stage of engine operation remains under investigation.”

“SLCPD officers and Airport Operations pulled the man from the engine’s intake cowling, secured the scene, began lifesaving efforts, and requested emergency medical services,” the release said. Those efforts included CPR and the administration of naloxone.

Efinger died on the scene, according to police. An autopsy will be conducted to determine his cause and manner of death, and medical examiners may conduct a toxicology report, the department added.

Airport police say the incident did not impact other operations at the airport.

Salt Lake City police said they are investigating the incident, as are the Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and Transportation Security Administration.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it is “gathering information” about the incident but indicated that local police are handling the investigation.


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