A Delta Air Lines plane is seen waiting in April at the Austin-Bergstrom International airport in Austin, Texas.

A Delta Air Lines plane is seen waiting in April at the Austin-Bergstrom International airport in Austin, Texas. / Getty Images

An airline worker died Friday night at the San Antonio International Airport after being ingested into an engine of a plane, officials said.

The plane, an airbus A319 operated by Delta Air Lines, was arriving in San Antonio from Los Angeles and taxiing to the gate on one engine when the worker was sucked into that engine, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a written statement shared with NPR.

"The NTSB is continuing to gather information about the event," the agency said.

The victim, whose name has yet to be released, was employed by Unifi, a company that provides ground handling operations at many U.S. airports and is contracted by Delta in San Antonio.

"We are heartbroken and grieving the loss of an aviation family member's life," a Delta spokesperson told NPR.

A spokesperson for San Antonio International Airport echoed that sentiment, saying the staff is "deeply saddened by this incident and are working with authorities as they begin their investigation."

The airport did not issue a ground stop or register any significant delays following Friday's incident, federal aviation data shows.

This will be the NTSB's second investigation into an engine ingestion in a little under seven months. In January, ground crew member Courtney Edwards was killed instantly after being pulled into a spinning jet turbine in Montgomery, Ala.

Publicly available records suggest that death from jet engine ingestion is fairly uncommon. In a 20o8 company magazine, the aviation giant Boeing wrote that it'd seen 37 reports of engine ingestions, including five fatalities, on its first two generations of 737 aircrafts in about a 40-year span.

Edwards' employer, Piedmont Airlines, was fined $15,625 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) last week after being found at fault for safety failures by exposing its workers to jet blast hazards. Piedmont, a subsidiary of American Airlines, is contesting the findings before an independent OSHA review commission.

An earlier investigation from the NTSB was more favorable to the company, finding that the ground crew staff had participated in two safety briefings immediately before the plane arrived at its gate.

The report said Edwards, a 34-year-old mother of three, approached the plane as the engines were still activated and a safety light was still illuminated.

The co-pilot noticed that a cargo door indicator light was on and opened the cockpit window to try to warn the ramp agents that the engines were still running. Surveillance video showed another ramp worker trying to gesture to Edwards, indicating she should move away from the plane.

"The airplane shook violently followed by the immediate automatic shutdown of the number 1 engine," the report says.

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