Plane makes emergency landing in Lisbon after Porto airport worker locked in hold

An inquiry is underway to find out how a Porto airport worker could have been locked in the hold of a plane that then set off for Angola.

Thirty-eight-year-old Filipe Rocha was loading a pet onboard TAAG airways’ Boeing 777 bound for Luanda when he appears to have fainted.

“The door was closed, and the plane set off at 10.14am”, writes national tabloid Correio da Manhã.

Calling the situation “unbelievable”, president of the syndicate of airport and aviation works Fernando Henriques said there had not been anything like it in Portugal “in living memory”.

Rocha’s brief that morning had been to “coordinate teams in various planes” due to staff shortages, and thus his disappearance was quickly noticed.

The captain of the plane that by this time was flying over the Alentejo was duly notified and doubled back to make an emergency landing in Lisbon.

Medical teams recovered Rocha 54 minutes into the flight, and he was treated on the spot before being transferred to Lisbon’s Santa Maria hospital.

According to CM, Rocha was conscious and appeared to have no memory of what had happened to him.

The paper adds that temperatures in the hold “never go below 7ºC” and are usually in the region of 21º.