Terror scare as pilot locks himself in loo and sends 'foreign' man to cockpit

Ruth Doherty

Terror scare as pilot locks himself in loo and sends Middle Eastern man to get help
Terror scare as pilot locks himself in loo and sends Middle Eastern man to get help

LaGuardia Airport: PA

A pilot on a New York-bound flight caused a mid-air 'terror' panic after accidentally locking himself in the toilet just as the flight was preparing to land.

A passenger in the front row of the Chatauqua Airlines plane from Asheville, North Carolina, heard him trying to get out of the loo, and offered to help. The pilot told him to go to the cockpit and inform the crew of his situation, which the well-meaning man did.

But the co-pilot in the cockpit was completely spooked by what was described as the man's 'thick Middle Eastern' accent, refused to let him in, and called a state of emergency.

He radioed the control tower at LaGuardia Airport, who in turn alerted fighter planes.

On an audio recording, he can be heard saying: 'We are 180 knots 10,000 [feet] uh, can we leave the frequency for a minute? We are going to try to, uh contact dispatch.

'The captain disappeared in the back, and, uh, I have someone with a thick foreign accent trying to access the cockpit.'

'What I'm being told is he's stuck in the lav, and, uh, someone with a thick foreign accent is giving me a password to access the cockpit.

'I'm not about to let him in.'

The controller was also apparently spooked by the situation, telling the co-pilot to declare an emergency and 'just get on the ground'.

The situation was only remedied when the pilot managed to break out of the toilet just in time to stop the fighter planes from being scrambled.

According to the Daily Mail, in a cockpit radio recording obtained by the New York Post, he can be heard telling air traffic control: '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.

'There is no issue, no threat.'

However, FBI and Port Authority officers were still waiting to meet the plane when it landed, but quickly realised there had been a huge misunderstanding after talking to the rather harassed passenger.

Perhaps the pilot will just cross his legs until he lands next time...


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