Entries in Delta Air Lines (13)


Delta Passenger Who Bit into Needle in Sandwich Put on HIV Meds

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- One of the airline passengers who bit into a sandwich containing a one-inch needle earlier this week has now been put on antiretroviral drugs used for the treatment of HIV, and says the FBI is investigating the incidents aboard four Delta Air Lines flights as a criminal case.

James Tonges said he was placed on the drug Truvada, which has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, following the incident aboard a Delta flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis-St. Paul.  Half a dozen sewing needles have now been found in sandwiches on four separate Delta flights, and Tonges, who was sitting in his flight's business elite cabin, was unfortunate to have bitten into one of them.

"It was on the second bite into the sandwich, it actually poked the top of my mouth.  It was about one inch long, straight needle," Tonges told ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday.  "Since it punctured the top of my mouth, I had to be put on medication, and we're waiting to see if there's any type of substance on the needle.  They're doing their examination right now."

Tonges and another passenger sustained minor injuries after biting into the sandwiches, and Customs and Border Protection officials found a third needle after confiscating the sandwiches, according to an official report.  Dr. Jack A. Drogt, a passenger Tonges had coincidentally met aboard his flight over to Europe, also found a needle in his sandwich.

Federal authorities, including the FBI, are investigating who had access to the food for flights originating out of Amsterdam's Schipol Airport bound for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Tonges also told Good Morning America on Tuesday that his teenage son, who was travelling from Amsterdam's Schipol Airport on a different flight, was also a victim, and authorities are investigating.

"That was the uncanny thing," Tonges said.  "When I landed I spoke to the FBI, then I called my wife to let her know what had happened.  She said something happened to our son on a flight on a parallel flight from Amsterdam to Atlanta."

The teen would not surrender the needle to authorities, who noted he told them that he planned to use it as evidence in a lawsuit.

Although federal air marshals were aboard the Minneapolis-St. Paul-bound flight, they were not notified of the incident by the crew, authorities said, until deplaning.  At that point, the air marshals turned the incident over to the FBI, which was working with CBP and local police to investigate how the needles were put in the meat.

Delta airlines released a statement saying it "has taken immediate action with our in-flight caterer at Amsterdam to ensure the safety and quality of the food we provide onboard our aircraft."

The sandwiches were prepared in the kitchen of the Gate Gourmet catering company at Schipol airport in Amsterdam.  All such sandwiches have now been removed from flights and replaced with pizzas.

Gate Gourmet operates in 28 countries and serves an average of 9,700 flights every day of the year -- and more than 300 million passengers annually.

"You can't check every sandwich that goes aboard a plane," Former FBI special agent Brad Garret told ABC News.  "This demonstrates to people who want to do bad things … this is a gaping hole."

In a statement, Gate Gourmet said: "We take this matter very seriously.  Gate Gourmet immediately launched a full investigation to determine the root cause of this disturbing incident, and we are treating this as a criminal act. "

Last year, ABC News' Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV performed an investigation with an unnamed employee who worked for Gate Gourmet.  A video allegedly shows how easy it is to add unauthorized food to unaccompanied carts.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Exclusive: The Airplane Mystery Wire that Triggered Delta Scare

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- New details emerged Monday about the two mysterious pieces of wire encased in straws that triggered a short-lived but widely-reported terror scare on a Delta flight last week from JFK airport in New York to Madrid.

A government picture of one of the wires, obtained by ABC News, provides the first look of what a federal air marshal feared could be a component for a bomb.

The wire that led to the false alarm appears to be no more than two inches long, running through a dark straw shield.

Authorities speculated it could be part of a rectifier, a device that converts AC to DC current.

Federal authorities also revealed Monday that the Barnes Air National Guard base in Westfield, Massachusetts was placed at "battle stations" as Delta flight 126 aborted its route to Madrid and turned around north of the island of Nantucket to return to JFK airport in New York.

A public affairs spokesperson at NORAD, Lt. Commander Bill Lewis said, "We were aware of the situation but we did not launch any aircraft." The plane, with 206 passengers on board, returned to JFK and declared an overweight landing emergency due to the amount of fuel on board for the transatlantic trip. The plane landed without incident.

According to a report on the incident, the two wires in the right rear lavatory were first discovered by a flight attendant who notified the flight's first officer who then alerted one of the federal air marshals on flight.

Concern apparently grew because the wires, one on the lavatory floor and the other on the toilet, "were not there during a pre-flight check," according to the report reviewed by ABC News.

The report said none of the lavatory's panels had been tampered with and the wires did not appear to be part of the aircraft.

The federal air marshals questioned a 43-year old male passenger identified by flight attendants as the last person to be near the lavatory before the discovery of the wires.

He was identified in the report as traveling on a Bolivian passport with a US green card. Initial reports suggested he was of Pakistani descent.

The air marshals cleared the passenger after he denied using the lavatory and a background check conducted by the FBI raised no concerns, according to the report.

There was no immediate comment from representatives of the Federal Air Marshals or the TSA.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bird Strike: Delta Flight Makes Emergency Landing

ABC News/WABC-TV(NEW YORK) -- Delta Flight 1063 was forced to make an emergency landing at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after its right engine reportedly experienced a bird strike shortly after takeoff Thursday afternoon.

The flight, originally bound for Los Angeles, returned safely to JFK.

“On takeoff, the airplane had a likely bird strike,” said a Delta statement. “As a precaution, the captain elected to return to JFK. The flight landed without incident, and we’re working on reaccomodating the passengers.”

CNN’s Ali Velshi, who was on the flight, tweeted that following the bird strike the cabin filled with smoke. Velshi also commended the captain and crew for “a quick turnaround & landing.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Delta Flight Makes Hard Landing

Comstock/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- A Delta Air Lines flight was forced to make a hard landing Monday morning at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.

Citing an airport spokeswoman, ABC News affiliate WISN reports that a tire blew out on the plane around about 11 a.m., causing the aircraft to make a hard landing.

There were no reports of injuries.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pilot's Bathroom Break Triggers Terror Scare

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A pilot on a New York-bound Delta Air Lines flight from Asheville, N.C., became stuck in the airplane’s lavatory Wednesday night as the aircraft approached LaGuardia Airport – and when a passenger with “a thick foreign accent” tried to alert the co-pilot of the situation, ABC News has learned that fighter jets were nearly scrambled.

“The captain has disappeared in the back and I have someone with a thick, foreign accent trying to access the cockpit right now,” the plane’s co-pilot reported to air traffic controllers around 7 p.m., according to

Trapped by a faulty latch on the bathroom door, the pilot apparently got the attention of a passenger, whom he provided the cockpit security code -- a passcode designed to tell cockpit occupants that it is safe to open the secure door.

“What I'm being told is he is stuck in the lav and someone with a thick foreign accent is giving me a password to access the cockpit,” the co-pilot said, “and I'm not about to let him in.”

The exchange took place over a period of about 15 minutes before the plane indicated to LaGuardia's tower that the situation had been resolved. It was during that time, ABC News has learned, that fighter jets were nearly scrambled to the skies.

The flight, Delta 6132, operated by Chautauqua Airlines – a regional carrier for Delta – was told to make an emergency landing and Port Authority Police and the FBI met it when it came in.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Delta Flight Makes Emergency Landing in Atlanta After Engine Failure

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- A Delta Air Lines plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Atlanta early Tuesday morning after running into problems with one of its engines.

Flight 1323, bound for Los Angeles, had to return to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport shortly after taking off because its left engine failed.

"About a minute after take off we could feel in the cabin one of the engines conked out because the power just sort of reared back on us," said ABC News producer Burt Rudman, a passenger on the red-eye flight.

Rudman added, "The captain just came out to talk to the passengers to say the left engine had failed right after take off.  And she was able to get the plane back on the ground safely."

Once the plane was safely grounded on the tarmac, the passengers on board were evacuated via emergency chutes.  Three passengers were injured, likely during the evacuation, according to Delta.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Blown Tire Leads to Fire on Delta Jet

Delta Air Lines (File Photo)(ATLANTA) -- The pilot of a Delta jet that blew a tire and then caught fire as it landed in Atlanta Saturday is being credited with getting the plane through it with no serious injuries to any of the passengers on board.

Delta Flight 2284, an MD88, blew at least one tire on landing after arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport from Pittsburgh, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The tire damage caused the landing gear to catch fire, and the plane billowed smoke as it came to a halt on the runway.

After the fire department extinguished the blaze, passengers were bused to terminal, the FAA said.

Only three people suffered minor injuries, which the FAA said may have occurred when they left the plane.

"When we landed we could tell something was little off," passenger Peter Gitnik of Beaver, Pa., said "Pilot did a great job. It looked like the tire was on fire. It seemed really under control though. I think there were some minor scrapes but I'm not sure."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Passenger Pleads Not Guilty to Trying to Open Jetliner Door

Delta Air Lines(BOSTON) -- A man arrested for allegedly trying to yank open the emergency door of a Delta Air Lines passenger jet in mid-flight pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday and later said it was a "big misunderstanding."

Robert Hersey, 34, of Arlington, Mass., was arraigned in a Boston court Wednesday for allegedly trying to open an emergency door while Delta flight 1102 was en route from Orlando to Boston Tuesday night. He pleaded not guilty to charges of interfering with a flight crew.

Hersey's attorney Ron Wayland said he was released on $1,000 cash bail, pending a pre-trail hearing on June 6. Judge Roberto Ronquillo Jr. ordered Hersey to stay alcohol-free while the case is pending.

Hersey told ABC's Boston affiliate WCVB that the entire episode was a "big misunderstanding." Witnesses have claimed that Hersey was intoxicated at the time, but he told the station that he was not inebriated, having only had a few beers and a hamburger before boarding.

Hersey was sitting in the exit row and allegedly grabbed the handle of the emergency door and tried to open it. Differences in air pressure prevented the door from being opened midflight, but his actions set off an alarm and scared passengers.

The Transportation Safety Administration said Hersey was subdued by two other passengers, one of whom was an off-duty police officer. The flight, carrying 148 passengers, landed in Boston without further disruptions.

The incident was the fourth mid-flight scare in three days.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Delta Flight Diverted Due to Security Concern

Delta Air Lines (File)(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) -- A Delta Air Lines flight headed from Detroit to San Diego on Sunday was forced to land in Albuquerque, New Mexico after officials say a potential security threat arose onboard.

A law enforcement official told ABC News that Delta flight 1706 was on the way to San Diego, when a flight attendant discovered a note with the word “bomb” written on it. Authorities say out of an abundance of caution, the plane was diverted to Albuquerque International Sunport, where investigators will likely sweep the aircraft and examine the note for fingerprints.

Delta Air Lines issued a statement saying the flight, which was carrying 137 passengers and six crew members, had landed safely and that the airline was cooperating with authorities.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Delta Flight Experiences Engine Failure, Makes Emergency Landing

Photo Courtesy - Delta Air Lines (file)(FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- A Delta flight carrying 140 passengers from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., was forced to make an emergency landing shortly after takeoff Sunday.

Delta Flight 1846 to Minneapolis experienced engine trouble, according to a Broward County spokesperson, and returned to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The sheriff’s office said pieces of what appeared to be engine parts were recovered near an entrance to Port Everglades.

No one was hurt in the incident. The airline said passengers were rebooked on other flights.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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