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Mon, Nov 21, 2011

Pilot Stuck In Lavatory Triggers Terror Scare

But It Turned Out To Just Be A Jammed Door

Even the pilot has to go once in a while, but on a recent Chautauqua Airlines Delta Connection flight from Asheville, North Carolina to New York, a jammed bathroom door caused the co-pilot to think the airplane was under attack.

The New York Post reports that the incident occurred shortly before landing. The pilot stepped out of the cockpit for a bathroom break, but found himself stuck when he could not get the door open. He reportedly began pounding on the door, which drew the attention of a passenger seated near the front of the plane. The passenger, who according to the story had an accent that "sounded Middle Eastern," tried to get the attention of the co-pilot through the locked, reinforced cockpit door.

The co-pilot contacted ATC, saying that "The captain disappeared in the back, and, uh, I have someone with a thick foreign accent trying to access the cockpit." The captain even tried to convince his crew mate of the authenticity of his dilemma by giving the passenger his cockpit-access code ... but the co-pilot remained unconvinced.

ATC directed the co-pilot to make an emergency landing, but the captain got himself out of the lav and back into the cockpit in time to assure ATC that there was no threat to the airplane. The Post did not say where the flight attendant was on during the exchange.

ABC news reported that fighter jets were put on alert but not scrambled, and the FBI and New York Port Authority determined after the plane landed that it was indeed simply an odd set of coincidences.

FMI: www.fbi.gov

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