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Airport workers demand changes after deadly accident at Charlotte Douglas

After an airport worker was pinned under his tug vehicle and died, there's now a call for action to keep others safe.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Airport workers who do several jobs, including transporting your luggage from plane to plane or to baggage claim, are asking for better safety measures after a colleague's death on the job. 

"You would never think it would happen to somebody that works right next to you," said a grounds crew member who works at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. 

The employee, who asked not be identified, didn't see the incident take place, but is worried it could happen again. 

"I didn't know it was going to be that dangerous of a job," the employee said. 

His concern is growing after Kendrick Hudson died after a workplace incident Sunday night at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. 

Airport police said Hudson was driving a tug vehicle when he tried to swerve to miss a piece of luggage on the tarmac. However, he still hit the bag and rolled. Officers said he was ejected and pinned underneath the tug. 

Paramedics responded and rushed him to an area hospital where he died. 

"That's the same job I do," said the concerned employee. "It could happen to me at any moment as well."

Accidents on the ramps and grounds of airports happen more often than some might think. Some 243,000 people are hurt in an accident or incident on the grounds of airports worldwide every year, according to Flight Safety Foundation. 

"We need more lighting on the grounds to know where to drive the tugs," the employee said. "Like the runways have more lighting probably than where we drive."

He's worried if the right steps aren't taken, more accidents could happen. 

The employee told NBC Charlotte he would like the airport to make safety enhancements when it comes to crews who work at night when it's harder to see. 

"Even something as simple as bags can have reflectors as they fall off the carts that they are noticeable," he said. "Enhance safety, enhance lighting, enhance employee's surroundings."

NBC Charlotte reached out to the airport about safety concerns. A spokesperson said they are aware of them, but wouldn't comment further. 

American Airlines, the company Hudson worked for, said employees go through extensive training and that all of their tugs have seat belts. 

It's not clear at this time if Hudson was wearing his. 

An investigation into the incident will likely continue for a couple of months.


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