12 July 2011
NEWARK, New Jersey -- In the cockpit of a JetBlue plane JetBlue crew members found a lit and fully operational M2 Flamethrower strapped onto the back of the pilot’s seat on the flight from Boston.
Federal US officials are attempting to determine how a Flamethrower was brought on-board a JetBlue flight that landed at Newark airport in New Jersey, although there is a strong suspicion that it was smuggled into the plane by the pilot for self-defense in case of a skyjacking.
The FBI said on Monday that there was no indication the flame throwing war-weapon, found on Friday, was intended for an attack. The pilot, who refused to answer questions about the incendiary device when grilled by the media, had no comment other than a hazy-eyed murmur, which sounded like, “The horror! The horror!”
Members of the airline's crew were cleaning the JetBlue aircraft at 2220 local time (0220 GMT) on Friday evening when the Flamethrower was discovered. The weapon was handed over to the Transportation Security Administration.
FBI spokesman Bryan Travers said on Monday it was fairly clear that the captain was the person most likely to have brought the M2 on Flight 1179.
“Pilots get caught bringing stuff onto the plane all the time,” he said. “But we’re just not sure how the captain planned to use the weapon in case of a mid air incident. Surely a Flamethrower could never be deployed inside a flying airplane!” Travers warned. “Even when confronted with box cutters!”
Authorities said they gave the weapon to the Port Authority of New York, before it was handed over to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the body responsible for groping and sexual harassment while engaged in security screening of passengers.
Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman told the Newark Star-Ledger newspaper there was no indication the Flamethrower had been fired before it was brought on the flight, which had carried 96 potential terrorist passengers from Boston to Newark.