A Utah man whose body was discovered in the engine of a Delta airliner boarded the aircraft after making frenzied attempts to access the runway from within Salt Lake City International Airport.
According to KSTU-TV in Salt Lake City, 30-year-old Kyler Efinger of Park City descended into the turbine of a Delta aircraft on the evening of January 1.
At the time, the Airbus A220–100 was undergoing de-icing. The turbine engine’s blades were in motion at the time Efinger was discovered.
After rescue attempts failed and Efinger was extracted from the engine cowling, which draws air into the engine, he was pronounced deceased at the site.
According to video obtained by KSTU, he attempted to enter the runways through a barred door before fleeing in search of an alternative entrance. At one point, he used his shoes to pound on a window.
Efinger was ultimately captured on camera descending a flight of stairs subsequent to forcibly unlocking a door.
The video’s concluding frames were captured by a thermal imaging camera. Efinger was seen on the video sprinting toward the aircraft.
KPCW-TV in Park City, Utah, reports that Efinger’s father, Judd Efinger, stated he experienced a mental health crisis at the airport due to flight delays that prevented him from boarding a flight to see his ailing grandfather.
“After 10 years you sort of get good at seeing the behavior. You know, he just gets really short and high energy. So, then it turns to triggers and things that trigger him — his journey through the airport, he had a bunch of triggering events,” Efinger said.
“He was sort of profiled in TSA,” the man’s father said, referring to the Transportation Security Administration security checkpoint. “And then he missed his flight because of the extended TSA. And once he missed his flight, he called me and I could just tell that this was not going to end well.”
In addition to prescription medication, Efinger stated that his son self-medicated with marijuana for bipolar disorder.
“I would just encourage other families that are going through this, it’s just not OK. It’s masking some of the issues, and really should have been going to professional doctors and therapists. I would just encourage any parents going through this to really push for that. And it’s tough when they’re adults because they can make their own choices,” he said.
WATCH: The family of the man killed when he crawled into a jet engine Monday at the @slcairport says he was bipolar, and having a manic episode.
— Lindsay Aerts (@LindsayOnAir) January 4, 2024
Efinger said his son faced bullying in college because of his disorder.
“A lot of kids just made fun of him for being hyper, but he was always well-intentioned and just a real sweet kid. So it really was the sort of traumatic events in college. But it was just, you know, heavily influenced by bullying, and he just could never quite understand why folks would treat him like that,” he said.
He said he believes his son died from head trauma.
“We hope he is in a happier place. And you know, we are going to really miss him. We just really want to honor Kyler and mental health issues and try to help the next family. And I think that’s what we’ll be focused on in the coming years here,” Efinger said.