In North Carolina, an American Airlines flight was grounded at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport Sunday evening after a stun gun was found on board, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In a statement to WBTV and other media sources, the agency confirmed the stun gun was disguised as a cell phone. An FBI spokesperson acknowledged a concerned passenger took notice of an odd item underneath a seat during a flight from San Francisco International Airport to Charlotte-Douglas.
American Airlines then asked for law enforcement assistance in handling the matter, and the plane was investigated by K9s and members of a bomb squad after passengers deplaned safely. Investigators then found the stun gun disguised as a cell phone.
“That’s still pretty remarkable to think that it would be okay to bring it on to an aircraft,” said WBTV Safety Analyst Karl de la Guerra, who was shocked by the discovery. “With the imagination being the limit for what you’re going to disguise a device as, that developmental curve is always ahead of the detection curve.”
Stun guns that look like cell phones can be found for sale online and are marketed as self-defense tools, but de la Guerra said they could be potentially dangerous on an aircraft. “These type of devices need to be kept out of the airline system,” said de la Guerra. “You can imagine what a disaster multiple stun guns on an aircraft would be.”
De la Guerra said that stun guns disguised as phones can be legally purchased in certain jurisdictions, and that it is up to the consumer to know the laws in their jurisdiction.
According to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations, travelers are not permitted to carry a stun gun onto a plane. The only plausible exception is by packing one in a checked and registered bag. It is unclear how the stun gun ended up near passengers on the American Airlines flight, but an investigation is now underway. Representatives from the TSA have not commented on the incident.
No one has been cited or arrested in connection to this incident. News report videos below:
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