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US Airways mechanic a stowaway on flight from Tampa

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 05:07 PM

A US Airways mechanic stowed away on a flight from Tampa to Charlotte on Tuesday morning inside the cargo hold of a commercial plane, the Allegheny County (Pa.) Police Department said.

The Tampa-based mechanic, whose name hasn't been released, then boarded a flight to Pittsburgh, where police picked him up and took him to a hospital for evaluation, said Allegheny County police Lt. Richard Mullen.

Mullen said the stowaway bought an employee ticket in the terminal at Charlotte Douglas International Airport for the flight to Pittsburgh International Airport, Mullen said.

While the plane was on its way to Pittsburgh, airline officials received information about what the mechanic had done. US Airways contacted the Allegheny County police to alert that the man's plane would land at 11 a.m. in Pittsburgh, Mullen said.

Police met the man at the gate and spoke to him. He wasn't arrested. He agreed to be taken to a hospital for an evaluation, Mullen said.

"He really committed no violation here (in Pittsburgh)," Mullen said. "He flew here as a regular passenger."

The mechanic was described as a man in his mid 40s, Mullen said.

The Transportation Security Administration released a statement saying it's investigating the case and that the man's airport credentials had been revoked.

"TSA is conducting an investigation to determine whether a US Airways employee may have improperly used his airport credentials to access the aircraft nd subsequently travel on a flight from Tampa to Charlotte," TSA said in a statement.

The airline also released a statement confirming an incident with an employee and said it is working with agencies to determine what happened.

"Out of respect for our employee's privacy, we will not be providing additional details about this situation," US Airways said in a statement.


jpatino@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7659

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