Alaska Airlines Flight 448 from Seattle to Los Angeles returned to Seattle Airport and made an emergency landing shortly after takeoff, after passengers reported they heard loud banging from “under the plane.”
— Marty Taylor Collins (@seattlegirl) April 13, 2015
The banging was found to be from a ramp agent, who was stuck in the cargo hold. The pilot made a request for an emergency landing, and the ramp agent was sent to the hospital as a precaution. No injuries were reported, and Alaska is investigating how the incident happened.
Alaska has made a statement on their blog describing the incident.
Immediately after takeoff, the pilot of Alaska Airlines flight 448, bound for Los Angeles, reported hearing banging from beneath the aircraft. The captain immediately returned to Seattle, declaring an emergency for priority landing. The aircraft was in the air for 14 minutes. After landing, a ramp agent was found inside the front cargo hold, which is pressurized and temperature controlled. The ramp agent appeared OK, and was transported to the hospital as a precaution. We are actively investigating the matter.
FlightAware shows the route the plane took in returning to Seattle. The flight again took off at 4:03 PDT for Los Angeles, after a delay of less than 2 hours.
This is the second incident within a week where we saw an Alaska flight returning to Seattle. On April 10, Alaska Airlines flight 336 from Seattle to San Jose returned to the airport after bring struck by birds. There were no injuries.