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Entries in Needles (3)

Tuesday
Jul172012

Needles in Sandwiches: Caterer, Security Gaps Investigated

ABC News (AMSTERDAM) -- After six needles were reported in sandwiches served on Delta flights from Amsterdam, the FBI and Dutch police are investigating an in-flight caterer and potential security gaps as the food was transferred from the caterer's facility at Schiphol airport to the planes, ABC News has learned.

The six needles were reported on four separate flights to three separate cities on Sunday, federal law enforcement officials said. Those officials said that two people were slightly injured and treated by Emergency Medical Technicians. Delta acknowledged one person was injured, and treated at a hospital.

The sandwiches were prepared in the kitchen of the Gate Gourmet catering company at Schiphol. Gate Gourmet operates in 28 countries and serves an average of 9,700 flights every day of the year -- and over 300 million passengers annually.

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."

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Authorities noted that two victims were a father and a teenage son who were traveling on separate flights from Amsterdam to the United States. The father was flying to Minneapolis/St. Paul and the son to Atlanta.

The five needles that were recovered from the six reported incidents are being tested for biochemical hazards but so far there is no indication that they were tainted. The sixth needle was discovered by a federal air marshal who tossed it and his sandwich in the trash.

Dutch police are the lead investigators, and they are being assisted by the FBI, because U.S. citizens were victims of what is being called a criminal act.

Authorities are calling this a potential act of sabotage and remain deeply concerned that the tainted sandwiches found their way onto four separate flights to Atlanta (2), Minneapolis and Seattle.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul172012

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

Monday
Jul162012

Needles Found in Sandwiches on Four Delta Flights

ABC News(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Two passengers suffered minor injuries from needles found in the meat of sandwiches served aboard four Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States Sunday, federal officials report. And the FBI is now investigating those incidents.

The sandwiches were served to business class passengers, crew members and government employees flying from Amsterdam to the United States.

At least one batch of 17 sandwiches appeared to be made by a U.S. company based at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. Those sandwiches were served board Delta's flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul Sunday afternoon. Two passengers aboard the flight found needles in their sandwiches, officials confirmed. The sandwiches were turned over by Delta to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).

Two passengers sustained minor injuries after biting into the sandwiches and CBP officials found a third needle after confiscating the sandwiches, according to an official report.

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"Delta is taking this matter extremely seriously and is cooperating with local and federal authorities who are investigating the incident," Delta spokeswoman Kristin Bauer said in a statement to ABC News. "Delta 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."

Delta told authorities that Gate Gourmet, a U.S. company operating in Amsterdam, made the sandwiches.

Gate Gourmet did not respond to calls for comment.

Although federal air marshals were aboard the 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.

In addition to the Minneapolis flight, a needle was discovered by a teenage passenger aboard a Delta 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.

In a federal report on the incidents, it was noted that the teen was the son of a passenger aboard the flight to Minneapolis who also found a needle in his sandwich.

Additional needles were reported found on two other flights, one by a crew member and another by a federal air marshal.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio