‘She made friends anywhere;’ Family remembers basketball-lover killed while offloading plane at New Orleans airport

Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 7:54 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Loved ones of Jermani “Jerm” Thompson, a 26-year-old tragically killed while working at Louis Armstrong International Airport, will remember her as a fun-spirited lover of basketball.

“She was a basketball guru; do anything you ask her to do. What you need me to do,” said Thompson’s mother, Angela Dorsey. “I just can’t believe it, you know, my only daughter is gone. I don’t believe it. It’s like, she just told me I’ll see you when I come back.”

Dorsey has her daughter’s basketball medals and trophies on display at their home in Reserve, Louisiana.

Jermani Thompson, 26, was tragically killed when her hair became entangled in a belt loader...
Jermani Thompson, 26, was tragically killed when her hair became entangled in a belt loader while offloading bags from a plane at the New Orleans airport on Tuesday (Aug. 30).(Facebook)

Thompson played at Riverside Academy, East St. John High School, and Hesston College in Kansas where she earned an associate degree. She also received a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi where she also played the sport she loved.

“A lot of those ladies that she played ball with, they have already contacted me and reached out to me,” said Dorsey.

Jerm was an employee at GAT Airline Ground Support, a job her mother said she enjoyed.

“She worked, she worked,” Dorsey says.

Officials say she died while offloading a Frontier jet Tuesday evening (Aug. 30). Her hair became entangled in a belt loader. She was rushed to a hospital where she died from her injuries.

“We are heartbroken and are supporting her family and her friends as best as we are able. Please send your well wishes to everyone at our New Orleans station during this very difficult time,” GAT’s CEO Mike Hough said in a statement.

Frontier spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz said, “We extend our deepest condolences following the tragic death of a team member of our ground handling business partner at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans. Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

“My daughter was a good child. She was a loving child. She was a child that made friends anywhere,” said Dorsey.

Thompson loved her family, pets, and mama’s cooking.

“Oh, she loved to eat/ ‘Mama what you’re cooking today?’” Dorsey recalled.

Aviation director Kevin Dolliole says they are “deeply saddened” about Thompson’s “tragic” death.

“Jermani was a part of our Airport family, and we will continue to support one another in any way we can during this trying time,” a statement read.

Heartbroken, Jerm’s family must now go on without her.

“You do it one day at a time,” said Herman Dorsey, Jerm’s stepfather. His wife chimed in, “with prayers.”

“Reading the word and prayers will bring us through and a lot of people are going to be praying for us but we have to pray ourself,” he continued.

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