View Full Version : Delta flight diverted due to disturbance on board

Pilot Pete
11th Oct 2001, 02:17
The BBC has just reported that Pentagon sources have advised that a Delta Airlines flight has been diverted en-route L.A. under F-16 escort due to a 'disturbance' in the flight deck. Originated in Atlanta and diverted to Louisiana. Anyone got any more on it?

Edited for updated info.

[ 10 October 2001: Message edited by: Pilot Pete ]

rhythm method
11th Oct 2001, 03:35
Delta 757 diverted due 'cockpit disturbance'. F16 escort and one arrested. No other info as yet.

[This info from BBC Ceefax early info only. Edited due later info.]

[ 10 October 2001: Message edited by: rhythm method ]

11th Oct 2001, 04:18
It was NOT a cockpit disturbance.

A Delta spokeswoman described the disturbance as "a passenger incident" involving one person. Sources said the passenger had been behaving strangely and handed a flight attendant a note she considered threatening.


edited for URl did not work right

[ 10 October 2001: Message edited by: TR4A ]

11th Oct 2001, 04:26
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) A Delta airliner bound for California was diverted to Shreveport with an escort of two fighter planes Wednesday after a passenger passed a threatening note to a flight attendant, the FBI said.

Flight 357, with 148 people aboard from Atlanta to Los Angeles, landed safely after what the airline described as a "passenger incident."

Edward A. Stephenson, 36, was arrested and charged with interfering with a flight crew
member and attendants, FBI spokeswoman Sheila Thorne said. She refused to provide details of the note, but said it was deemed threatening. The Boeing 757 reported a problem at 2:43 p.m. and landed 26 minutes later.
Stephenson appeared disoriented when he was taken off the plane, police said. Thorne said
prosecutors planned to seek a mental evaluation of the suspect.

Delta spokeswoman Cindi Kurczewski said there were 139 passengers and nine crew members
aboard the jetliner. She said the plane was diverted "due to a passenger incident," but referred questions to authorities. It was unclear where the two F-15 fighter planes took off from.
The flight continued on to Los Angeles less than two hours after landing.


11th Oct 2001, 04:48
Yep, the nuts are coming out of the woodwork in these tense times...


Chicago man arrested for making gesture with plastic knife on airline

By Jeffrey Gold
Associated Press
Published October 10, 2001, 3:51 PM CDT

NEWARK, N.J. -- A Chicago man flying from Israel was arrested today after a flight attendant said he alarmed her by drawing the plastic knife that came with his food across his neck while eyeing her, the FBI said.

Yassin Yaser stroked the knife across both sides of his neck "imitating the motion that could be used to slit one's throat," FBI Special Agent Gary Borak wrote in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

Yaser was arrested about 5 a.m. at Newark International Airport. He had flown aboard Continental Airlines flight 91, from Tel Aviv to Newark.

When questioned, Yaser first said he was using the knife to scratch his neck, and then said that "he was joking when he rubbed the knife across his neck and that his conduct was stupid," the complaint said.

It was not immediately clear at what point during the flight the incident occurred or whether the man was restrained aboard the aircraft.

Yaser, 25, was charged with a disorderly persons offense that carries up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The incident occurred nearly a month after hijackers slammed airliners into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, killing thousands in the nation's worst terrorism incident. It is believed they used knives to assault flight crew members.

"There is a universal commitment between the U.S. attorney's office and law enforcement agencies that all persons suspected of harassing or interfering in any manner which would intimidate or threaten passengers or flight attendants will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law -- zero tolerance," said FBI Special Agent Sandra Carroll, a spokeswoman for the bureau's Newark office.

U.S. Magistrate Susan D. Wigenton ordered Yaser held on $25,000 bail pending a hearing Thursday on whether he violated bail conditions set for an armed robbery charge pending in Chicago.

Yaser's appointed public defender, Chester Keller, argued that Yaser should be released, noting that the flight was connecting to Chicago.

"He's anything but a flight risk," Keller told the magistrate during a 10-minute hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Boxer, however, requested the $25,000 bail, noting the pending charge and an "extensive criminal history" that included a four-year term in Illinois for burglary in the mid-1990s.

Yaser, a U.S. citizen who had lived in Israel at some point, was also sentenced to a concurrent three-year term in Illinois for arson and a hate crime, said Mike Drewniak, a spokesman for the Newark U.S. attorney's office.

Details of those crimes were not immediately available. Continental had no immediate comment on the incident.

11th Oct 2001, 13:50
You know, the way things are going, it will be FAs and not terrorists who will deter the public from flying. I DO UNDERSTAND their concerns but they need to show less paranoia and some understanding of the fact that potential terrorists will not attract attention to themselves by passing notes and making threatning gestures. On the contrary, they will keep low profile until they pounce. Yes there are nutters out there but they're not terrorists. There is a difference.

11th Oct 2001, 14:50
BRUpax. Nutters and terrorists may be different, but are you suggesting that it's OK for the nutter to be on board? Like drunks, they need to be offloaded as soon as possible, better still, not allowed on in the first place.

11th Oct 2001, 21:13
I'm suggesting that aircrew are paranoid and seem to be over reacting to what are really relatively minor behavioural incidents. Since 11/9 we have already seen some well documented examples of perfectly innocent pax being poorly treated because of paranoid crew reactions. I think that there's a real danger that crew behaviour and attitudes will, in the USA at least, turn the flying public away even more.

Carnage Matey!
11th Oct 2001, 23:59
Sadly thats a bit naive BRUpax. These loonies aren't terrorists but that doesn't mean they can't bring an aircraft down. Just remember the BA flight to NBO last year when the nutter threw himself at the controls, that guy looked suspicious, so are you suggesting we just turn a blind eye to this behaviour? There are some people out there who think that being mentally disturbed is an excuse for being disruptive on flights. I say they shouldn't be allowed on the aircraft to start with. Lets see how comfortable you feel as a pax when one of these guys makes a lunge for the flight deck door or attacks the cabin crew. Will you stand up and help, or will you just look away and pretend you don't see whats happening like 99.9% of passengers do.

Dr Know
12th Oct 2001, 00:06
Are we not taking this a bit toooooo far.... :confused:

Capt Homesick
12th Oct 2001, 00:33
No, we're not.

12th Oct 2001, 03:17
Not totally relevant to this thread, but here's a little snippet from United:


United will have security bars in place on its entire
operating fleet within 10 days.


As an added security measure, you are now limited to one
reasonably sized (45 linear inches) carry-on item, in
addition to a purse or briefcase, on all United flights.
This restriction applies regardless of your class of
service for domestic and international travel.

Maybe this will ease the "nutter" load?

12th Oct 2001, 03:19
From Webster re: paranoia
2 : a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others
I think in the initial aftermath there were instances falling within that definition (NW at MSP etc.), and I'm still not sure whether having F-16s blatting about is a Good Thing. But until (if ?) the current situation is resolved one way or another, suspicion and distrust are understandable and prudent. It would be nice were everyone to wear a tag stating 'normal', 'nutter', 'copycat' or 'terrorist' but since they don't, if they start acting up I'd rather CC assume the worst.

Of course we all interpret excessive and irrational differently. Not being allowed to take a leak on board qualifies as both IMO.