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Charlotte airport worker killed in baggage vehicle accident identified

A Charlotte Douglas International Airport worker was killed while working at the airport Sunday night, the N.C. Department of Labor has confirmed.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department identified the man as 24-year-old Kendrick Darrell Hudson.

Hudson was transporting baggage on an airport vehicle called a tug near Concourse E, the police department said in a statement. He made a hard right turn in the tug to avoid hitting a piece of luggage that had fallen on the tarmac, but hit the luggage and the tug rolled over, the police said.

He was thrown from the vehicle and pinned underneath it, police said.

The N.C. Department of Labor is investigating the death, department spokeswoman Dolores Quesenberry said. The investigation into the death could take three or four months to complete, Quesenberry said.

Hudson was an employee of Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines.

“American Airlines is deeply saddened by the death of one of our team members from Piedmont Airlines late last night,” the airline said in a statement. “Right now our priority is caring for his family, and for our team in Charlotte.”

Medic confirmed on Twitter that the agency was called to the airport at 10:31 p.m. Sunday. The agency said it transported a person with life-threatening injuries from the airport to Atrium Health CMC. The man died at the hospital, the airport said in a statement.

“Our thoughts are with the employee’s family and co-workers,” the airport said. “The airport is working closely with its airline partner and are assisting, as needed. We are extremely grateful for the quick response of our emergency crews and law enforcement officers and for the medical assistance and care they provided to the airline employee.”

CLT is among the top 10 busiest airports in the world based on operations, according to the airport, and serves more than 46 million passengers a year.

Roughly 20,000 people are employed at the airport, including airlines, tenants, Aviation Department employees and contractors, the airport said.

Workplace death investigations

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Division investigates workplace injuries and deaths to ensure there are no safety violations. Employers must report work-related deaths to the Department of Labor within eight hours.

There were 47 work-related deaths in North Carolina from October 2018 to July 2019, the department reported. Eleven of those deaths fell under the Charlotte district office’s jurisdiction, and three occurred in Mecklenburg County.

Quesenberry said the department reviewed the last three years of its data, and has no reports of other work-related deaths at the Charlotte airport in that time. A Charlotte airport spokeswoman could not immediately say when the last time there was a work-related death at the site.

Staff writer Jane Wester contributed to this report.

Hannah Smoot covers business in Charlotte, focusing on aviation and health care. She previously covered money and power at The Rock Hill Herald in South Carolina. She is a lifelong North Carolinian and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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