Airplane Toilet Terrorist
Two days after a Nigerian al Qaeda operative tried to blow up Northwest Flight 253 as it landed in Detroit, we had an eerie repeat. Another Nigerian on the exact same flight locked himself in the lavatory and refused to come out. Thankfully, it was a case of the trots, not a terrorist plot.
The pilot alerted the authorities and the plane made an emergency landing and was met by police on its arrival in Detroit.
The man, who is in his 30s, reportedly locked himself in a toilet for more than an hour as the plane flew over the US. Before locking himself in to the toilet the man had already been up and down to the same cubicle several times. Cabin crew became increasingly suspicious, broke the door down and dragged him out. He is then said to have become irate and verbally aggressive.
He was subdued and the pilot contacted the airport to say there was an emergency on board. Emergency vehicles gathered on the runway to meet the plane. The passengers and crew were evacuated from the plane and the man was formally arrested. Officials said no explosive device had been found on the suspect. The man had boarded the flight with no luggage.
President Barack Obama, who is on holiday in Hawaii, was informed immediately. White House officials said Mr Obama was to have further talks with his aides over airline security.
However a senior US official told Fox News that the man arrested on Sunday was simply a “sick passenger”.
It’s tempting to poke fun at the overreaction of the flight crew and a set of procedures that has the President of the United States alerted because a man had diarrhea on an airplane. But, given the timing, suspicion was certainly warranted. And, ultimately, little harm was done.
That passenger was released from the custody of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. He was allowed to make a planned connection to an unspecified destination, a spokesman for the Detroit Wayne County Airport Authority said. The passenger’s name was not released.
But the fact of the matter is that Montezuma’s revenge is a far more likely occurrence than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed II. The new TSA regulations are therefore much more likely to force a sick person to either flout security procedures and be reported to the president or stay in his seat and let nature take its course.
The terrorists have won.