Salt Lake City — A 30-year-old man was found dead inside a plane engine Monday night at Salt Lake City International Airport after police said he managed to make his way onto the runway.
On Tuesday, the Salt Lake Police Department identified the man as Kyler Effinger of Park City, who had a ticket to board a flight to Denver, Colorado.
The investigation began Monday when a store manager called the airport control center at 9:52 p.m. to report a “disturbance involving a passenger” on the secure side of the terminal, according to Salt Lake Police.
Details about the store and what the passenger was doing were not available at press time.
According to the Salt Lake City Airports Department, Effinger used the emergency exit door to gain access to the airport and ran to the south end of the airport's west runway, where de-icing operations were underway.
Meanwhile, Delta Flight 2348 from Salt Lake City to San Francisco – an Airbus A220-100 – was scheduled to depart at 9:30pm on Monday.
The flight, carrying 95 passengers, two pilots and three flight attendants, had to return to the gate, and the flight was canceled because Evinger was on the runway at a de-icing pad, according to a statement from Delta. Airlines. The passengers were later rebooked on other flights.
“Since nothing is more important than the safety and security of our customers and people, Delta is fully cooperating with all aviation authorities and law enforcement investigations,” Delta said in its statement.
Corey Buckley, a passenger on the canceled Delta flight, said the plane was on its way to clear ice when it suddenly stopped.
“This was like rolling, like screaming to stop like the brakes. The pilot came over (the intercom) and said there was some security event and there was a guy they were looking for on the runway around us. What sounded like a million emergency vehicles and police vehicles came screaming,” Buckley said. Towards the plane.”
At approximately 10:08 p.m., police and airport employees found the man inside the engine of the plane bound for San Francisco. SLCPD spokesman Brent Weisberg said engines were initially reported to have been stopped when the man was located.
It was later clarified that officers immediately asked air traffic controllers to shut down the engines, but Weisberg said the engines were “still turning, but the exact phase of engine operation is still under investigation.”
“Based on the officers’ training, experience and observation, they believed there were some indications that the use of naloxone may have been appropriate,” Weisberg said. “Naloxone is used to reverse and stop the effects of an opioid overdose, and despite administration and other life-saving efforts, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the man died at the scene.”
The medical examiner will conduct a full toxicology report to determine the cause of death, Weisberg said.
Airport officials said they are working with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, Salt Lake City police and the Transportation Security Administration to investigate the events that occurred Monday night.
Later Tuesday afternoon, SLCPD issued a statement with more details and timeline, given the public's interest in the events:
9:56 pm, dispatchers informed SLCPD officers that the man went through an emergency exit inside the station. SLCPD officers began heading to the man's last known location and arrived approximately one minute later and began checking the area on foot.
9:57 pmDispatchers provided SLCPD officers with a description of the man's clothing.
9:59 pmSLCPD officers reported they checked the man's last known location but were unable to find him. SLCPD officers continued their search.
10:02 pmDispatchers provided an update on the man's location.
10:03 pm, Dispatchers notified SLCPD officers of the man's identity based on initial information gathered from airport officials.
10:04 pmSLCPD officers received information from airport staff that the pilot had reported seeing the man.
10:05 pmSLCPD officers requested that the FAA air traffic control tower be notified of the incident.
10:06 pmSLCPD and airport operations officers found personal items, including clothing and shoes, on one of the airport's runways.
10:07 pmDispatchers informed SLCPD officers that the man was on one of the airport's de-icing platforms.
10:08 pmDispatchers informed SLCPD officers that the man was underneath the plane and had access to the engine. SLCPD officers asked FAA air traffic controllers to notify the pilot that the plane's engines were shutting down.
10:08 pmSLCPD officers arrived and found the man partially unconscious inside an engine mounted on the wing of an occupied commercial aircraft on a de-icing platform. The plane's engines were running. The specific phase of engine operation is still under investigation.
10:09 pmSLCPD and Airport Operations officers pulled the man from the engine intake hood, secured the scene, began life-saving efforts, and requested emergency medical services.
10:15 pmLife-saving efforts, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation and naloxone administration, continued.
Despite rescue efforts, the man died at the scene. Police said no further information is expected to be released pending an autopsy.
Contribution: Pat Revie, KSL.com
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