A co-pilot working on Delta flight 6132 from Asheville, North Carolina to NYC was almost forced to make an emergency landing at the LaGuardia Airport Wednesday night after the main pilot inadvertently sparked fear of a terror attack.
The misunderstanding started when the pilot left the cockpit to use the plane’s lavatory shortly before landing. A faulty latch kept him trapped inside the bathroom, so he began banging on the door for help. A male passenger with a thick foreign accent came to his aid and was instructed by the pilot to notify the cockpit of the situation. The co-pilot became alarmed and radioed air traffic control while circling above LaGuardia.
“The captain has disappeared in the back and, uh, I have someone with a thick foreign accent trying to access the cockpit right now…,” the co-pilot told air traffic controllers. “What I’m being told is he’s stuck in the lav. Someone with a thick foreign accent is giving me a password to access the cockpit, and I’m not about to let him in.”
The co-pilot was told to make an emergency landing, but before he could begin the pilot was able to free himself and return to the cockpit for the landing. “The captain, myself, went back to the lavatory and the door latch broke and I had to fight my way out of it with my body to get the door open,” he explained. “There is no issue, no threat.”
The plane made a safe landing and was met by FBI and Port Authority officers. The passenger involved was questioned and authorities agreed the incident was a misunderstanding.
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