A pilot who accidentally locked himself in the bathroom of his plane caused a terror scare when a helpful passenger with a "Middle Eastern" accent tried to come to his rescue.
The embarrassing comedy of errors began when the captain of a Chatauqua Airlines flight from North Carolina, in the US, decided to take a bathroom break before landing in New York City. The door jammed and he pounded his fists on it to attract attention. A passenger went to see what happened, and the pilot asked him to alert the cockpit crew.
The co-pilot at the controls, wondering why his colleague's bathroom break was taking forever, thought the unfamiliar accent outside the door was Middle Eastern, a source said. "The captain disappeared in the back, and, uh, I have someone with a thick foreign accent trying to access the cockpit," the nervous co-pilot told the tower at La Guardia.
The controller, also spooked, advised the co-pilot to declare an emergency and "just get on the ground." The pilot finally extricated himself and told his colleagues all was well, but by that time, fighter planes had been alerted. A spokesman for Chatauqua - a regional carrier for Delta - said police talked to the passenger and quickly realised it was all a misunderstanding.
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