It’s difficult to believe, but a U.S. Air Marshal reportedly left her loaded firearm in the bathroom of an international Delta flight headed from England to the U.S., according to this story from fox5ny.com.
The gun was found by another passenger, who gave it to a member of the flight crew, who returned it to the air marshal, the story says.
The incident reportedly occurred on April 6 aboard a flight from Manchester to Kennedy International Airport.
We’re just hearing about it now because the unidentified marshal waited several days to report the incident to her superiors. The story says the Transportation Security Administration is investigating the incident.
As you may expect, leaving a loaded firearm unattended is a significant security breach.
“You can’t have inept people leaving weapons in a lavatory,” said Crag Sawyer, a former air marshal, in the story. “If someone with ill intent gets a hold of that weapon on an aircraft, they’re armed now.”
The story leaves so many questions, such as, where do air marshals put their guns when they do their business? Obviously this one took hers out of her holster, but then where could you put it in that closet of a restroom where you could possibly not see it before you leave? Furthermore, how could an air marshal possibly get back into a cramped coach seat without noticing that the weapon an air marshal carries concealed as part of his or her job job isn’t pressing into their kidney, appendix, back, hip or wherever it’s carried?
Earlier this week, we reported that a Southwest Airlines co-pilot was arrested for accidentally leaving a handgun in his carry-on bag.
In 2015, a federal air marshal left his gun in a bathroom stall at Newark Liberty International Airport, which was later found by a janitor.
The Federal Air Marshal Program costs about $1 billion a year to put an estimated 2,200 armed air marshals on flights at a cost of $3,300 per trip.