Passenger Using Restroom Notices Loaded Gun Left Behind, Turns Out It Belonged To Airport Authorities

US air marshals are the only people allowed to carry a gun aboard passenger aircraft traveling in US air space. All other crew and passengers are carefully screened for weapons, so air marshals are the only individuals aboard a traveling aircraft with a gun.

However, air marshals are human beings and occasionally make mistakes just like everyone else. In this case, it seems that a female US air marshal left her loaded gun in the bathroom of a flight from Manchester, UK to New York City, according to the New York Times.

Apparently, a passenger found the gun and handed it over to a member of the flight crew, who then returned it to the proper owner.

The incident reportedly occurred on a Delta flight in early April, but the marshal supposedly failed to report it to her superiors for several days, based on the article.
An ex-air marshal explained in an interview for the article that leaving a loaded weapon in an airplane bathroom is a pretty big deal.

"You can't have inept people leaving weapons in a lavatory," former air marshal Craig Sawyer explained "If someone with ill intent gets hold of that weapon on an aircraft, they are now armed."

Note this is not the first time air marshals have misplaced their weapons. For example, a federal air marshal accidentally forgot his gun in a bathroom at Newark Liberty International Airport, and it was later found by a janitor.

The air marshal program has endured a few other embarrassing incidents. Eight air marshals were fired in late 2012 when they were seen drinking together at a restaurant while on duty. Back in 2006, a US air marshal debarked from a Southwest Airlines flight when he dropped a clip of bullets on the floor.

The air marshal who forgot her gun in the airplane bathroom in this case was assigned to another flight only a few days after the incident, according to the Times article.

Photo: ABC 2

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