Flight 448 departed at 2:39 p.m. but immediately after takeoff the pilot reported hearing banging from someone underneath the plane, the airline said in a statement.
The captain declared an emergency and returned to the airport, where a Menzies Aviation ramp agent was found inside the front cargo hold. The ramp agent was taken to Highline Hospital to be checked out and was later released.
The employee later told officials he had fallen asleep in the plane, according to a blog post by Alaska Airlines. Menzies contracts with Alaska to provide luggage services.
The worker, who was part of a four-person baggage loading team, was scheduled to end his shift at 2:30 p.m., according to the Airline. After loading the Los Angeles-bound plane, the team leader noticed one of the four employees was missing. He said he called and texted the worker, but didn’t hear anything back so he assumed the worker finished his shift and went home. (Read more from “Alaska 737 Returns to Seattle After Napping Worker Awakes in Cargo Hold” HERE)