The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that a federal employee working at a New Jersey airport died from complications associated with coronavirus, marking the agency’s first COVID-19-related death.
According to the official TSA website, 39-year-old Francis “Frank” Boccabella III died on April 2 after 16 years with the organization. He was an Explosive Detection Canine Handler at Newark Liberty International Airport.
A TSA spokesperson sent heartfelt condolences to Boccabella’s wife, extended family, colleagues and friends. “His passing represents a personal loss to all of us who knew him and cherished both his friendship and professionalism,” the statement read.
Boccabella joined the TSA in 2004 at John F. Kennedy International Airport before becoming a Compliance Inspector at the Newark airport and finally settling into his role as an Explosive Detection Canine Handler.
Boccabella worked with a six-year-old German Short-haired Pointer named Bullet to screen hundreds of thousands of passengers, keeping them and the transportation network safe.
In recent weeks, the TSA received updated protocols regarding the spread of coronavirus, including the decision to allow employees to wear N95 masks and eye protection, as well as mandatory nitrile gloves.
The TSA also recently announced a new website to provide travelers with updated airport regulations and keep track of confirmed cases of coronavirus among employees.
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