Entries in flight (21)


Man Accused of Slapping Crying Toddler on Flight

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- A Delta Airlines passenger traveling from Minnesota to Georgia faces federal assault charges after allegedly slapping a fellow passenger’s toddler son for crying during the flight.

Joe Rickey Handley of Idaho was on Flight 721, set to land at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta on Feb. 8, according to an FBI court affidavit. He was sitting next to Jessica Bennett and her 2-year-old son, who began crying as the plane started to descend.

Bennett, who was seated in row 28 alongside Handley, told FBI agents that she tried to get her son to stop crying when Handley “told her to shut that ['N word'] baby up.”

“Ms. Bennett stated that Joe Rickey Handley then turned around and slapped [the baby] in the face with an open hand, which caused the juvenile victim to scream even louder,” court documents said.

The 33-year-old Minneapolis mother said the slap caused a scratch below her son’s right eye.

That’s when fellow travelers stepped in.

“After Joe Rickey Handley struck [the child], Ms. Bennett received assistance from several people on the plane, including male passenger Todd Wooten,” court documents said.

Wooten, who was seated in row 16, said he heard derogatory language coming from the rear of the aircraft and witnessed Handley slapping the child.

“Let’s just let the case speak for itself as it develops,” Atlanta Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Marcia Shein said.

Shein, who’s representing Handley, said her client will be pleading not guilty.

Efforts to reach Bennett and Handley by ABC News were unsuccessful.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Smoke on American Eagle Flight Causes Dramatic Emergency Landing

File photo. American Airlines(BARTONVILLE, Ill.) -- An American Eagle flight bound for Chicago was diverted first because of bad weather. But as the plane was about to land, smoke began to fill the cabin, causing passengers to jump from the aircraft after it landed safely.

All 53 people and four crew members on board made it out safely, although American Airlines reported one passenger injured an ankle.

American Airlines Flight 3773 took off from Denver on Wednesday, but was diverted to Peoria International Airport because of bad weather.  As the plane approached for landing, smoke began pouring from the ceiling of the aircraft.

Many frightened passengers believed something was burning above in the plane's ceiling, but American Airlines released a statement overnight saying there was no fire on board and "we have concluded that the smoke came from a house fire near the Peoria airport ... not from the aircraft."

"Right as we are landing, we smelled burnt rubber," said passenger Rita Bentley after the emergency landing.  "And I was sitting next to two flight attendants and we all said, something must be burning."

Chris Pyle began shooting video of the smoke as it filled the cabin.  "All of a sudden smoke started coming out of the ceiling," he said.

Pyle said his thoughts turned to his children while other passengers prayed.

"It was eerily quiet on the plane. No one was screaming. Everyone was just very concerned about what was going on," he said.

After the plane landed, passengers were instructed by the flight crew to exit immediately via the emergency exits over the wings of the aircraft.  Not wasting any time, the captain stopped the plane shortly after landing, and that's when the passengers began exiting the plane and jumping onto the runway.

One passenger managed to take a cellphone video of the dramatic landing and upload it to YouTube.

"This is how we just got off this freaking plane," he said on the video.  "No joke."

"It was an experience," said Bentley. "I've always been an adventurous person, but I never thought I'd have that kind of adventure."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Several Injured After Turbulence Hits American Airlines Flight

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Several people aboard an American Airlines flight from Aruba to Miami were treated for injuries Tuesday evening after the plane was hit with turbulence prior to landing.

In a statement, the carrier said Flight 1780 "encountered moderate turbulence" for about 15 seconds roughly 30 minutes before it was scheduled to land in Miami.  

Upon landing safely at 6:06 p.m., two flight attendants and three passengers were transported to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.  A handful of other passengers were treated at the gate at Miami International Airport.  None of the injuries were said to be critical.

American Airlines said the seatbelt sign was lit when the plane started shaking, and "nothing on the radar indicated that turbulence was in the area."

The Boeing 757 had 185 passengers and six crew members on board.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Blind Passenger Causes Emergency Landing, 12-Hour Flight Delay

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- An unruly passenger aboard a Spirit Airlines red eye flight from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale over the weekend forced the pilot to make an emergency landing in Texas, which then led to an over 12-hour layover for approximately 100 on board.

Spirit Airlines Airbus A319 from Los Angeles Xavier departed on time at 9:58 p.m. PT Saturday, with a scheduled landing at Hollywood International (FLL) at 6 a.m. Sunday.  However midway through the flight, a disruptive passenger forced the pilot to make an emergency landing at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport, where the roughly 100 passengers would remain for most of the next day, ABC News affiliate KTRK reported.

The unruly passenger, an 81-year-old man who is blind, was kicking and screaming, those on board told ABC News' Ft. Lauderdale affiliate Local 10 News.

Passengers were reportedly kept in the plane on the tarmac for several hours before being allowed into the terminal.  The airline then told the waylaid passengers that they would now be shuttled by bus five hours north to Dallas, because Spirit does not operate a flight between Houston and Ft. Lauderdale.

Passengers then became irate, yelling and screaming at airline staff.

"It was terrible.  It was unreal.  It was painful," passenger Theresa Shaviano told Local 10.

Spirit Airlines eventually decided to fly the passengers in a different plane, and the flight arrived in South Florida about 8 p.m. Sunday -- 12 full hours after the scheduled arrival time.

The airline said time constraints with the crew prevented the original plane from taking off from Houston.

"We understand that this has been an inconvenience for our customers, but the safety of our customers is always the top priority.  All customers are being given full refunds for this inconvenience," the airline said in a statement.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


International Flight Bound for US Diverted for Security Concerns

US Air(WASHINGTON) -- A US Airways flight from Paris continued its journey to Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday after it was diverted to Bangor, Maine, because of "suspicious behavior" by a female passenger.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told ABC News that the passenger, an unidentified woman born in Cameroon and traveling alone for a 10-day trip to the U.S., had passed a note to the flight crew saying that she had a surgically implanted device in her.

King said that when doctors examined the woman, they found no signs of recent scars. He said she had no checked baggage.

Another congressional official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the note had been written in French and did not mention a bomb.

The Transportation Security Administration said the passenger was being interviewed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

Andrew Christie of US Airways confirmed to ABC News that Flight 787 with 179 passengers and nine crew members onboard had been diverted around noon to Bangor International Airport because of a "security issue."

According to the TSA, the flight was redirected "out of an abundance of caution."

John Cornello, the spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told ABC News that it had launched two F-15s from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts to intercept the US Airways aircraft.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Flight Quarantined at Chicago Midway

ABC News(CHICAGO) -- After a reported quarantine, passengers on a Delta flight that landed at Chicago's Midway Airport were allowed to disembark.

The news of a quarantine of flight 3163 from Detroit followed reports of an ill passenger, according to ABC News station WLS in Chicago.

The CDC had initially contacted Delta and asked it to hold the plane, according to a statement from the airline.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Chicago Department of Health met the plane on the tarmac and worked with emergency crews to assess the issue. According to the city's Department of Aviation, the plane landed at the airport Thursday afternoon.

Passengers on the flight said that the plane pulled up to the gate after landing, but the pilot would not open the door, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press. Instead, according to the article, two officers in Hazmat suits from the Chicago Fire Department boarded the plane to examine a passenger, a woman from Uganda. The officers took pictures of the woman and sent them to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the passenger quoted in the article.

The head of quarantine at the CDC told ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser that the female passenger, who had been in Uganda, had displayed a skin rash. However, she had no fever, swelled lymph nodes or other indicators of a serious infectious disease.

After officers on the scene assessed the condition of the passenger in question, the CDC released all passengers from the plane.

Health officials reportedly interviewed some passengers on the flight.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Drunk Pilot? Suspicion Delays Omaha Flight

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(OMAHA, Neb.) -- A Frontier Airlines flight from Omaha, Neb., to Milwaukee was delayed Thursday when the pilot was suspected of being drunk and kept from boarding the plane.

"Our police received information alleging that a Frontier crew member was impaired and, acting on that information, our police intercepted the employee before he boarded the flight," Chris Martin, director of operations for Omaha's Eppley Airfield, told ABC News.

"They spoke with him, and asked him a few questions, and determined there was reasonable suspicion that he was impaired and turned it over to Frontier Airlines staff," Martin said.

A hotel shuttle driver tipped off the police, Martin said.

The pilot, identified only as a man, was not arrested.

"We acted on it immediately, as soon as we were made aware of a potential situation," Martin said. "We never arrested him. We talked with him and turned him over to the local Frontier Airlines staff."

Flight 1894, a regional aircraft operated by Chautauqua Airlines, was scheduled to leave Omaha at 6 a.m., but did not leave until 8 a.m. because the airline needed to bring in another pilot, according to ABC News Omaha affiliate KETV.

The flight's 29 passengers did not have to wait on the tarmac, however. They were permitted back in the airport to wait.

Martin said Frontier has deemed the incident a "personnel matter."

Representatives of Frontier Airlines did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"I know they have advised the FAA, as have we, so I'm sure they will also do an investigation," Martin said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman Boards Plane with Gun in Her Bag

Hemera/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- A passenger at the Dallas/Fort Worth International airport was able to board a plane with a gun inside her carry-on luggage Wednesday, but was taken off the aircraft and detained by security officials before the flight could take off.

The 65-year-old woman walked away from the security checkpoint, luggage in hand, and onto an American Airlines flight before screeners became aware of the bag's contents.

The woman will be charged with places weapons prohibited, according to ABC News Dallas affiliate WFAA-TV.

The Transportation Security Administration released the following statement:

At approximately 6:20 a.m. CST, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Officers at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport checkpoint D-30 detected a firearm in a carry-on bag. The owner of the bag left the checkpoint before the screening process was complete and prior to surrendering the firearm. To ensure the safety of the traveling public, TSA worked with local law enforcement to locate the passenger and firearm before the plane departed. The passenger in question was taken into custody by Dallas Police and normal operations have resumed.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Green Beret in Airport Explosives Incident Accused of Earlier Violation

Photodisc/Digital Vision/ThinkstockUPDATE: Atwater has been charged with attempting to board an aircraft for intrastate transportation with C-4 explosives.

(MIDLAND, Texas) -- The Green Beret accused of attempting to smuggle explosives through a Texas airport on New Year's Eve had already been, just a week before, caught allegedly attempting to get a live smoke grenade on another commercial flight, law enforcement officials told ABC News.

Special Forces Sgt. Trey Scott Atwater, 30, was detained in a Midland, Texas, airport after security discovered two packages over a pound each in Atwater's carry-on luggage labeled as C-4 explosives, according to an account provided by law enforcement officials. Atwater, who was traveling with his wife and two children, was not carrying the initiator or detonators that are required for the C-4 to explode.

When interviewed by the FBI while in custody, Atwater, an explosives expert in the elite U.S. Army unit, said he simply forgot he had the C-4 on him and must have carried them on an earlier flight from Fayetteville, N.C., officials said.

According to officials who reviewed an internal security report, TSA officials in Fayetteville said they doubt Atwater had carried the C-4 on a previous Dec. 24 flight from Fayetteville. The report said that Atwater was stopped that day after security screeners discovered a live smoke grenade in his carry-on, but after a thorough search, no other suspicious material was found.

Atwater is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday where he will be arraigned on charges relating to both the Dec. 31 C-4 discovery and the Dec. 24 smoke grenade incident, authorities said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Unaccompanied Minor Ends Up in Wrong State After Flight Mix-Up

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- What was supposed to be a normal flight to visit her grandparents for the holidays turned into a confusing mix-up for 9-year-old Chloe Boyce.

The girl’s itinerary was originally supposed to send her from Nashville, Tenn., to LaGuardia Airport airport in New York, making a stop in Baltimore along the way.  Due to a fog condition, a two-hour connection in Columbus, Ohio was added to the flight.  This is where confusion set in for Chloe.

“Chloe often flies by herself to see her grandparents in Connecticut, or her dad in Rhode Island.  We always use Southwest,” says Chloe’s mother, Elena Kerr.

“Whenever she flies alone, we go up to a ticket agent, and the ticket agent goes over the rules with her,” Kerr said.  “We always go over how many stops there will be.”

Chloe knew that this time, two stops were to be made, with the second one being her destination in New York.  When Chloe arrived at the new second stop in Baltimore she got off the plane.

Kerr received a call from her sister who was supposed to pick up Chloe at the airport.

“Where is Chloe?” her sister asked.  “I went into panic mode,” Kerr said.

She called the airline, and after 30 minutes of waiting she finally got a hold of someone.  She was told that she was sent e-mails with the new details of her daughter’s flight.

“I never received a call or e-mail to say what happened to my daughter,” Kerr says.

The airline outlined their policy in this situation, stating that although it is atypical, they attempted to inform the girl’s parents of her new itinerary.

“Our unaccompanied minor policy does not include the contacting of guardians when a flight is delayed or rerouted but we typically do our best to keep guardians notified when a disruption in scheduled service occurs,” the airline said. “Unfortunately, we did not connect with the parents of the customer traveling in this situation.  We are in the process of conducting our own internal investigation to identify why the additional outreach was not made.  We apologize for any concern that the flight disruption may have caused.”

Chloe ended up spending an extra three hours in Baltimore.  Kerr says that once alerted to the situation, a pilot in Baltimore took Chloe off the plane and worked to make her feel at ease.

Kerr says she is debating on whether or not to let her daughter fly Southwest again.

“Southwest was very apologetic,” she says, adding that she has never had a problem with the airline in the past.  Still, she says, “no one has been able to tell me why I wasn’t called.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio