Monday, 14 November 2022

Knife wielding passenger cause emergency landing

Passengers onboard a Frontier flight from Cincinnati to Tampa were diverted to Atlanta when a passenger started threatening other passengers and crew with a box cutter.

FRONTIER AIRBUS A319-119 N949FR (MSN 2857)

On Friday, the 11th of November, Frontier Airlines flight 1761 departed from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG/KCVG) to Tampa International Airport (TPA/KTPA). Due to a passenger wielding a box knife and threating passengers and crew the flight diverted to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL/KATL). 

Reports are still unclear on how the passenger got the box cutter onboard, seeing as how strong security measures have been implemented since 9/11. No doubt, an investigation will be launched regarding how the weapon managed to get past security at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Frontier spokesperson Jennifer De La Cruz commented on the situation:
"The aircraft landed safely in Atlanta and the passenger in question was taken into custody by Atlanta law enforcement"

The passenger was initially spotted with one knife. However, a second box cutter was discovered after searching the man's carry-on belongings. Details of the passenger have not yet been released, but after diverting to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), he was taken into custody by the Atlanta police.

After the diversion, all other passengers were taken care of with overnight hotel accommodation.

The Frontier Airlines flight was operated by its Airbus A320, registration N393FR. For those familiar with Frontier's distinct tail designs, this aircraft features its 'Nevada the Red Fox livery.'

Several passengers noted the man was behaving erratically before the knife made an appearance. Some passengers even said he verbally admitted he wanted to 'stab or kill someone.' Cabin crew on the flight asked for anyone with a military or police background to move to the back of the airplane, where the man was sitting, to keep an eye on him until they could land.

The hero of the hour was a man by the name of Cumberbatch, a Navy veteran, who volunteered to do so. He maintained a sense of calm with the perpetrator until it was time to land, noting that many of the passengers did not even know they were involved in an emergency landing until they switched on their phones and realized they were in Atlanta. With assistance from another veteran, an ex-Army man, the two escorted the man off the aircraft and into police custody.

Box cutters have been prohibited within aircraft cabins since 9/11. These were among the weapons used by the Al-Qaeda hijackers. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has commented on the severity of this situation, with spokesperson Patricia Mancha stating:

"TSA takes its role in transportation security very seriously. The situation with the Frontier flight is under investigation with the US Attorney's Office, as they are the lead federal agency in this matter. TSA has started an internal review of the incident by viewing CCTV, airport security checkpoint processes/operations and will continue to provide updates as they are available."

No passengers or crew were harmed in the incident, but the severity of the situation cannot be understated. Given the level of security required these days to board an airplane, serious questions will be raised about where the system failed.

Frontier scheduled a new flight for the affected passengers to depart Saturday 12th, from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) at 09:00, with anticipated landing at the original destination of Tampa International Airport (TPA) at 10:11, over 12 hours later than originally planned.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Frontier
Code: F9/FFT
Aircraft: Airbus A320-251N
Registration: N393FR
Serial Number: 10919
Engines: 2 x CFMI LEAP-1A26
First Flew: July 2022
Age: 4 Months

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