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AirTran lie about a
terrorist "dry run" on Nov. 17?
17, 2009 AirTran Flight 297, a Boeing 717, aborted its Atlanta
to Houston flight. The reason why the flight was aborted (or postponed
for two and half hours if you believe AirTran) is open for debate. An
AirTran Airways spokesman, Christopher White, told the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution that Flight 297 was taxing down the runway, preparing
to take off, when a crew member asked a passenger to turn off his cell
phone. White told the Journal-Constitution that after several
attempts to get the man to turn off his phone, the captain returned the
plane to the gate. The passenger was asked to leave the plane. He deplaned
without incident. No charges were filed against the man and the plane
departed for Houston after a two-and-a-half hour delay.
official story and, I guess, they're sticking to it. Unfortunately, the
"official version" differs slightly from the real version even
though Snopes preferred the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
version. The Journal-Constitution interviewed a female passenger
whose version differed slightly from the version reported by another passenger,
Texan Tedd Petruna, who was directly involved in the incident that
took place on AirTran 297 as it taxied down the runway, preparing
for takeoff. There two versions are close enough that it makes the AirTran
version the odd-man-out.
interviewed a female passenger, Nancy Deveikis of Marietta, Georgia,
who was seated directly behind the passenger cited by AirTran as
the troublemaker. Deveikis told the newspaper that the man was
part of a larger groupeleven men and an interpreter. White
told the newspaper that when the captain asked the man and his interpreter
to leave the plane, the others left as well, although a short time later
the men who departed willingly reboarded the same flight. The two who
were ejected took a later flight to Houston. Deveikis claimed the
man was not talking on a phone, but taking pictures with a camera.
In his statement
to the Journal-Constitution, White said it was unclear if
the man was talking on the phone, snapping photos with it, or texting;
reiterating that he was holding a cell phone and thereby implying that
he not holding a camera. While the man apparently could not, or chose
not, to speak English, White said, when the flight attendant told
his interpreter to tell the man to shut off the cell phone, the cell phone
has to be shut off. "We can't taxi with the cell phone on,"
White said, "and we certainly can't take off. Language
barrier or not, [they started] to butt up against interfering with a flight
said the whole thing was blown out of proportions as a result of poor
communications. Tedd Petruna tells the story from a slightly different
[He] was returning home
from a business trip to Ohio, [to his home in Texas]. If you read the
papers on the 18th, you may have been a blurb where an AirTran flight
was canceled from Atlanta to Houston due to a man who refused to get
off his cell phone before takeoff. It was on Fox.
I was in 1st class coming
home. Eleven Muslim men got on the plane in full [Muslim] attire. Two
sat in 1st class and the rest peppered themselves throughout the plane,
all the way to the back. As the plane taxied to the runway, the stewardesses
gave the safety spiel we are all so familiar with. At that time, one
of the men got on his cell and called one of his companions in the back
and proceeded to talk on the phone in Arabic very loudly and very aggressively.
This took the first stewardess out of the picture for she repeatedly
told the man that cell phones were not permitted at that time. He ignored
her as if she was there.
The second man who answered
the phone did the same. This took out the second stewardess. In the
back of the plane at this time, two younger Muslimsone in the
back isle seat and the other one in front of him in the window seatbegan
to show footage of a porno video they had taped the night before, and
were very loud about it. Now, they are only permitted to do this prior
to Jihad. If a Muslim man goes to a strip club, he has to view the woman
[through a] mirror, with his back to her...The third stewardess informed
them they were not to have electronic devises on at this time. To which
one of the men said," Shut up, infidel dog!" She went
to take the camcorder he was holding, and he began to scream in her
face in Arabic.
Note: Deveikis told
the Journal-Constitution that the man was holding a camera, not
a cell phone, which Petruna confirms. The AirTran spokesman,
White, said he was holding a cell phone. Why would this man be
videotaping a disruption of a plane's takeoff? Because that's obviously
what he was doing. Was this a practice run to determine if terrorists
could disable communications between the cabin and the cockpit as a prelude
to taking over more airliners in the near future?
At that instant...[when
the stewardess took the camcorder from the Muslim's hands]...all eleven
of them got up and started to walk toward the cabin. That's when I had
had enough. I got up and started to the back where I heard a voice behind
me from another Texan twice my size say: "I got your back."
I grabbed the man, who had been on the phone, by the arm and said: "You
will sit down, or you will be thrown from this plane!"
As I "led" him around me to take his seat, the fellow
Texan grabbed the second man and said, "You will do the same!"
He protested, but adrenaline was flowing now, and he was going to go.
As I escorted him forward, the plane doors opened and three TSA agents
and four police officers entered. Me and my new Texan friend were told
to cease and desist, for they had this under control. I was happy to
oblige. There was some commotion in the back, but within moments all
eleven were escorted off the plane. They then unloaded their luggage.
We talked about the occurrence
and were in disbelief that it had happened. Suddenly the door opened
and on walked all eleven! Stone-faced, eyes front and robotic. The stewardess
from the back had been in tears and when she saw this, she was having
none of it. Being that I was up front, I heard and saw the whole ordeal.
She told the TSA agents there was no way she was staying on the plane
with these men. The agent told her they had searched them and they were
going through their luggage with a fine tooth comb, and that they were
allowed to proceed to Houston. The captain and co-pilot came out and
told the agent "...we and our crew will not fly this plane!"
After a word or two, the entire crew, luggage in tow, left the plane.
Five minutes later the cabin door opened again and a whole new crew
That's when I had enough.
I got up and asked: "What the hell is going on?" I was told
to take my seat. They were sorry for the delay, and I would be home
shortly. I said, "I'm getting off this plane." The
stewardess sternly told me that she could not allow me to get off. Now,
I'm mad! I said: "I am a grown man who bought this ticket, who's
time is mine, with a family at home. And, I'm going through that door,
or I'm going through that door with you under my arm. But, I am going
through that door." I heard a voice behind me say, "So,
am I." Then everyone behind behind us started to get up, and
say the same. Within two minutes, I was walking off the plane when I
was met with more agents who asked me to write a statement. I had five
hours to kill at this point so, why not? Due to the amount of people
who got off that flight, it was canceled. I was supposed to be in Houston
at 6 p.m. I got home at 12:30 a.m.
If this wasn't a dry run,
I don't know what one is. The terrorists wanted to see how TSA would
handle [this incident]. They wanted to see how the crew would handle
it, and how the passengers would handle it. I'm telling you this because
I want you to knowthe threat is real. I saw it with my own eyes.