A mid-air terror scare ensued after a Chautauqua Airlines pilot was accidentally locked in the plane's lavatory and sent a passenger with a thick foreign accent to the cockpit for help.
Wednesday night's flight from Asheville, N.C. was not far from its destination at New York's LaGuardia Airport when a spooked co-pilot refused to let the Good Samaritan in. Instead, he called the control tower at LaGuardia Airport and warned of his serious concerns that an attack was underway.
As the passenger continued to bang on the cockpit door for assistance, the co-pilot refused to budge. Consequently, fighter planes were alerted of the incident.
The captain has disappeared in the back and I have someone with a thick foreign accent trying to access the cockpit, the co-pilot radioed. The captain disappeared in the back...went to use the restroom. What I'm being told is he's stuck in the lav and someone with a thick foreign accent is giving me a password to access the cockpit and I'm not about to let him in.
Air traffic control appeared to agree with the co-pilot, advising him to declare emergency and just get on the ground.
The scare only ended when the pilot managed to force his way out of the toilet and resume his place behind the controls.
In a cockpit radio recording obtained by the New York Post, the pilot is heard talking with air traffic control.
The captain, myself, went back to the lavatory and the door latch broke and I had to fight my way out of it with my body to get the door open.
There is no issue, no threat, he said.
The sky-high drama began when the pilot of the Chautauqua Airlines flight (a regional carrier for Delta) decided to take a bathroom break shortly before landing at LaGuardia. As he attempted to exit the lavatory, the latch reportedly broke, locking him inside during the crucial moments of the journey.
At the time, the plane was holding pattern above the airport and ready to touch down.
The well-meaning passenger heard the pilot's cries for help and rushed in to assist. The pilot then told the passenger to go to the cockpit and tell the crew of his situation, according to the New York Post.
That's when the drama began.
FBI and Port Authority officials met the plane when it finally landed in New York.
According to the New York Post, which broke the story, a spokesman for Chautauqua confirmed that cops talked to the passengers and quickly realized it was all a big misunderstanding.