A baggage handler was locked in with the luggage on a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to the D.C. area.
United Airlines confirmed the airline’s worker survived the flight in the plane’s cargo area on New Year’s Day. Workers discovered the employee when the plane landed at Dulles.
Media outlets identify the worker as 45-year-old Reginald Gaskin and report that radio transmissions reveal it was initially treated as a security incident.
The Washington Post reports that Gaskin declined to discuss how he ended up inside the plane, saying only: "I thank God. He was with me."
The newspaper reports that workers contacted the Federal Aviation Administration when they realized Gaskin might be in the hold.
United Airlines said United Express flight 6060 was operated by Mesa Airlines out of the Charlotte Douglas Airport. The airline is investigating how Gaskin became locked in the luggage area.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.