An engineer working on an airplane engine in New Zealand was sucked into the machine and killed.

Air New Zealand confirmed the man's death, saying he was working on the Lockheed C-130 Hercules engine early Monday. He was identified by local television reports as Miles Hunter, 51. The engine was not attached to a plane, but was on a stand when the incident occurred.

Rob Fyfe, chief executive of Air New Zealand, told TVNZ News that officials were at a "complete loss" as to how the incident occurred.

"It was a very routine procedure with very experienced people involved," he said.

Although rare, such gruesome deaths are not unprecedented. A U.S. Navy serviceman survived after being sucked into a jet engine on an aircraft carrier in 1991.