SALT LAKE CITY, UT – A 30-year-old man from Park City, Utah, succumbed to injuries sustained after climbing into an active plane engine at Salt Lake City International Airport on Monday night. Identified as Kyler Efinger, the man had reportedly breached an emergency exit before reaching the airport’s west runway during ongoing deicing operations. It is yet unclear why Efinger, a ticketed passenger destined for Denver, made the fatal decision to enter the engine.
The aircraft involved was a Delta Air Lines flight en route to San Francisco. Following the incident, the plane returned to the gate and its 95 passengers were rebooked onto alternative flights. The aircraft, an Airbus A220-100, was manned by two pilots and three flight attendants at the time.
In the aftermath, Delta Air Lines has pledged their full cooperation with relevant aviation authority and law enforcement investigations. The focus on “safety and security of our customers and people” was underscored in a statement from a Delta spokesperson.
The incident came to light after a store manager at the airport reported suspicious activity involving a passenger on the secure side of the terminal. After police were alerted, a search led to the discovery of personal belongings, including clothing and shoes, on one of the airport’s runways. The search concluded with the grim locating of Efinger lying unconscious, half inside a wing-mounted engine.
Efforts to resuscitate Efinger, including the administration of an opioid overdose reversal medication, proved unsuccessful. His cause of death is still under investigation, which may include a toxicology report as police collaborate with the medical examiner’s office.
Multiple organizations, including the Transportation Security Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, and National Transportation Safety Board, are also involved in ongoing investigations. Despite the incident, airport operations were reportedly unaffected.