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Questions remain as investigation gets underway into death of worker at Montreal airport

There are still a lot of questions about what went wrong at the Montreal-Trudeau airport on Saturday after a worker fell while trying to free up luggage that was stuck and later died of his injuries.

Quebec’s workplace safety board, the CNESST, is investigating the incident and has been speaking with witnesses.

"It’s absolutely horrible that an accident like that happened," said Guillaume Lingat, chairman of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Lingat, himself a baggage handler, said his members saw the man fall and apparently hit his head.

"It was like every other accident, quick and out of the blue and you end up with those results," he said, adding that, "It’s extremely traumatic to see something like that unfold."

Lingat does not represent the worker who died. The man worked for a subcontractor called Equans.

Equans senior vice-president of operations Pierre Lapointe said that the entire team was saddened by the death of one of their staff. 

"We are cooperating fully with airport management and the authorities to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the accident," Lapointe said in a statement. "Support measures have also been put in place for all staff who witnessed the accident."

Lingat says working in baggage can be very dangerous and training is not uniform.

"In this situation, it's dealt by employer by employer, so the training that I got specifically at Air Canada does not transport itself over to another carrier or another subcontractor," he said.

The CNESST said investigators are focusing on how the employees conducted their work as well as looking at the equipment used, on-the-job supervision, and training.

The airport is cooperating with the investigation and says its community is also in mourning Top Stories

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