Alaska Airlines ramp agent found inside cargo hold after pilot hears ‘banging’

An airport worker who fell asleep and found himself trapped in a plane’s cargo hold forced a Los Angeles-bound Alaska Airlines flight to return to Seattle on Monday afternoon. Flight 448 had just taken off when the pilot and some first-class passengers heard banging from down below, the airline said. The captain immediately returned to Seattle-Tacoma International and declared an emergency for priority landing. After the plane landed a ramp agent came out from the front cargo hold, which Alaska said is pressurized and temperature-controlled.

Upon exiting, he told authorities he had fallen asleep.

Alaska Airlines spokesman

He was initially checked by medics at the airport and found to be unhurt, airport spokesman Perry Cooper said.The man was also checked at a hospital and released, the airline said Monday evening. After his release from the hospital, he passed a drug test, airline spokesman Bryan Zidar said.The airline did not identify the worker.