Monday, October 27, 2014

Passenger describes security situation on Charlotte-bound flight

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Many questions remain about what caused a security scare Friday on a Charlotte-bound U.S. Airways flight. 
PAST ARTICLE: ‘Security issue’ onboard U.S. Airway flight in Charlotte

When U.S. Airways Flight 744 from Dallas landed in Charlotte Friday, the FBI kept passengers on the plane while agents questioned the crew and nine passengers.

One passenger, Eric Pillmore, said a police officer told him a threatening note had been found on the plane.

Meanwhile, some travelers said they deserve to know more about what that note said.

Pillmore said U.S. Airways Flight 744 from Dallas was about one hour into the flight when the captain made an announcement.

“He said 'We have a small situation, everyone needs to take their seats, put their seat belts on',” Pillmore said.

When the plane landed, Pillmore said Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, FBI agents and customs officials took the flight crew then nine passengers off the plane.

The captain then spoke again.

“At that point, he said this is a very serious situation,” Pillmore said.

Pillmore said a police officer later told him they found a note on the plane.

Eyewitness News anchor Scott Wickersham has been pressing government officials for more information. The FBI will only say it responded to a security concern out of caution.

Channel 9 contacted the airline, airport, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. None would comment on the incident.

In situations like this, the FAA can enact the Domestic Events Network -- a nationwide communication system to alert local authorities to air-related emergencies.

But the FAA won't say if it was used in this incident.

Some fliers say they deserve to know more about the incident.

“I would like to know what’s going on,” Shawn Jamison said. “Keeping it away from everybody, that’s not right. We have the right to know.”

Others understand the need for secrecy.

“The more information you give away, the smarter potential terrorists can come,” Trisha Stouffer said.

Pillmore just wants to know if he'll have to go through something like this again.

“I’m just worried. Is this going become a way of life?” Pillmore asked.

In similar situations, fighter jets have been scrambled to escort planes.

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