CHARLOTTE, N.C -- A spokesperson from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport confirms that the airport will coordinate with the TSA on an investigation into a stowaway incident Tuesday, but there areno plans for anothermajor securityinvestigation at the airport.
A statement from Charlotte-Douglas Wednesday called the incident an issue between the airline and its employee.
The incident Tuesday involved a US Airways mechanic who stowed away on a flight from Tampa, Florida to Charlotte-Douglas. Investigators in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania who made contact with the employee say he then boarded a flight inside the terminal in Charlotte to Pittsburgh.
Sources tell NewsChannel 36 that it looks like theman, a mechanic, set up in what airline insiders callthe hellhole of the Boeing 737 from Tampa. That area is near the tail.
A source shared a picture of the area of the plane in questionthat shows a carpet and pillow left behind. (At the request of the source, NewsChannel 36 has blurred an image on the pillow.)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police completed an intensive security evaluation at Charlotte-Douglas in February after 16-year-old Delvonte Tisdale accessed a plane's wheel well at the airport. Investigators believe the teen fell to his death as the US Airways flight approached Logan International Airport in Boston. Thatevaluation called for moreairport police and moreelectronic monitoring.
Wednesday, Patrick Cannon,chairman of Charlotte City Council's public safety committee, said hebelieves the changes made are good ones. We have stepped up all in which we can to makesure that security isof a higher measure. We've added more police officers out there, he said. It almost makes you beg to ask...is theresomething the airlines should be doing?
Cannon suggested that additional cameras might be worth considering.
Neither the airport or the airline will say if anyone stopped the mechanic once he dropped out of his hiding spot and onto the tarmac. It is also not clear how he got access to the terminal. Credentials are issued by each airport, and the mechanic involvedwas based inTampa.An airline source tellsNewsChannel 36 thatpasscodes that give employees access to the terminal from the tarmac are specific to each airport.
US Airways is saying very littleabout the incident, citing respect for the employee s privacy. A spokesperson for the Allegheny Sheriff's office toldNewschannel 36 that the office was contacted by US Airways employees who were concerned about the man's mental state. Deputiesmet the manat Pittsburgh International Airport, and took him to a hospital for evaluation. He was not arrested.
The investigation is being conducted by the Transportation Safety Administration. A statement from TSAreads, TSA has zero tolerance for abuse of the trusted status given to aviation employees who work at airports. We are continuing our investigation into yesterday s incident with a US Airways employee. The employee's airport access credentials were immediately revoked pending the outcome of the investigation.
It is not stillclearhow aperson could have survived the 510 mileflight from Tampa, Floridato Charlottein an unpressurized area of theplane. Aviation consultant J. Joseph said, in addition to the oxygen deficit,the area would be exposed to temperatures well 30 degrees below zero at altitude.
It would be very, very highly unlikely that anyone would be able to survive that--particularly that length of time, perhaps an hour and a half, en route from Tampa to Charlotte, he said.