Flight makes emergency landing after passenger threatens to stab someone with a box cutter (how’d he get it on there?)

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CINCINNATI, OH – A Frontier Airlines flight from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport suddenly made an emergency landing in Atlanta, Georgia after a passenger, armed with a box cutter, threatened to stab someone on the plane.

According to initial reports from the airline, no one was injured and the suspect was taken into custody by authorities in Atlanta.

Passengers in Cincinnati boarded Frontier Airlines flight 1761 bound for Tampa on November 11th just before 7:30 p.m.

Just over an hour later, the flight was diverted and made an emergency landing in Atlanta, Georgia after flight attendants were made aware that one of the passengers, who has yet to be identified, was armed with a box cutter and had threatened to stab another person on board.

When the flight landed at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, law enforcement was on the scene and was able to take the man into custody without incident.

After the man was taken into custody, the remaining passengers were escorted off of the plane and put into a local hotel for the night until another flight was scheduled for them on the 12th.

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While one would hope that the suspect in the case was able to somehow hide the box cutter and blades from TSA before getting onto the plane, that was not the case according to a release issued by the federal agency.

To their credit, TSA took responsibility for the incident and is no doubt thankful that no one was hurt. In a statement, they wrote:

“A male traveler approached the TSA checkpoint at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) with a ticket for a flight to Tampa International Airport (TPA). The traveler provided identification including a temporary Ohio drivers’ license and, once reviewed, proceeded to physical screening.”

It was at the physical screening that things went awry for TSA. While they allege that the CT scanner which is supposed to reveal whatever may be hidden inside of luggage was not fully utilized and the box cutters and blades were not discovered.

Even without the weapon being seen on the CT scan, the TSA operator saw something that did not look right and referred the two backpacks which were carried by the suspect for a physical inspection. It was there that TSA admits what could have been a catastrophic error:

“During the [physical] search, one box cutter was discovered. The visible blades were removed from the box cutter and provided back to the passenger.”

Sadly, yes, you read that right. The unidentified TSA member knowingly handed back an edged instrument to take onto the plane. TSA then goes on to state the obvious:

“This is contrary to standard operating procedure which requires these items to be placed in checked bags or voluntarily abandoned…The backpack containing the other box cutter, and the remainder of the traveler’s property, was screened for explosives, but the box cutter was not discovered.”

While one would hope that with all of the threats against the United States from enemy states like ISIS, Iran, and the like, the person making this grievous error would at least be terminated if not charged with a crime, it seems the person will only be retrained. TSA wrote:

“TSA employees involved in this incident have been placed in a training status for remediation on CT image review and physical search procedures.

TSA is also conducting shift briefs on the incident for all CVG and State of Kentucky employees, with reminders on proper disposition of box cutters and other prohibited items discovered during search…Nationally, TSA will issue a shift brief for all screening employees on this incident with reminders on use of the technology tools and prohibited items.”

Little has been said as to what prompted the suspect, in this case, to produce the box cutter and threaten another passenger or how the suspect was detained and the weapon taken from him. Thankfully, in this case, no one was injured and it does not appear the suspect had planned on using the weapon as a means of taking over the flight.


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