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Man dies after crawling into plane engine at Salt Lake City Airport, officials say

A 30-year-old man died after he climbed into a plane engine at Salt Lake City International Airport on Monday night, police and airport officials said.

Kyler Efinger, a resident of Park City, Utah, breached an emergency exit, ran to the south end of the airport's west runway where deicing operations were underway and "crawled into an aircraft engine," an airport official said. Police later said that the aircraft's engines were rotating and "the specific stage of engine operation remains under investigation."

It wasn't immediately clear why Efinger, who police said was a ticketed passenger with a boarding pass to Denver, climbed into the plane engine.

The plane, a Delta Air Lines flight from Salt Lake City to San Francisco, returned to the gate, according to the airline. The flight was canceled and the 95 passengers were rebooked on other flights. The plane was an Airbus A220-100, crewed by two pilots and three flight attendants.

"As nothing is more important than the safety and security of our customers and people, Delta is fully cooperating with all aviation authority and law enforcement investigations," a Delta spokesperson said. 

Police did not release the man's cause of death.

The police investigation started around 9:50 p.m. local time after a store manager in the airport reported a disturbance involving a passenger on the secured side of the terminal, authorities said. Airport authorities told police the man had passed through an emergency exit. 

Officers and Airport Operations found personal items, including clothing and shoes, on one of the airport runways at 10:06 p.m. as they looked for Efinger. Just minutes later, dispatchers told police the man was at one of the airport's deicing pads. They said he was underneath a plane and had accessed the engine. Officers asked air traffic controllers to notify the pilot to shut down the aircraft's engines.

Around 10:10 p.m., the man was found unconscious, part of the way inside the wing-mounted engine of a plane, police said. Officers and airport employees worked to get the man out, and first responders attempted emergency life-saving measures, including CPR and the administration of naloxone, a medication for individual suffering from opioid overdoses, but the man died on the scene. 

Salt Lake City officers will work with the medical examiner's office to determine Efinger's cause and manner of death, which police said may include a toxicology report.

The Transportation Security Administration is aware of the incident and working with airport authorities on the investigation, a TSA spokesperson said. Local police said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are also investigating.

Overall airport operations were not impacted, officials said.

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