Alaska Airlines Flight Returns To Seattle After Pilot Hears 'Banging' In Cargo Hold

An Alaska Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles returned to Seattle Monday after a ramp agent was found in the cargo hold.

A pilot on flight 448 "reported hearing banging from beneath the aircraft" just after takeoff, according to an Alaska Airlines press release. The pilot declared an emergency landing and immediately returned to Sea-Tac Airport, and the employee inside the cargo hold was found to be in good health. He was transported to a hospital as a precaution, the airline reported.

The plane was in the air for a total of 14 minutes, and the cargo hold was pressurized and temperature controlled.

It wasn't immediately clear how or why the man got into the cargo hold, though some news outlets are reporting that he got trapped before takeoff. Alaska Airlines is investigating the incident.

UPDATE: The ramp employee, who works for Menzies Aviation, had fallen asleep in the cargo hold, according to an Alaska Airlines statement. He passed a drug test and was released from a hospital. The man was part of a four-person team loading baggage onto Flight 448.