Passenger with Box Cutter Causes Flight to Tampa Be Diverted to Atlanta

A passenger aboard a Frontier airlines flight from Cincinnati to Tampa was diverted when a man in possession of a box cutter caused a panic onboard when he showed it to the passenger next to him and started to make statements about wanting to kill people.

The flight left Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, and as it neared Atlanta, a passenger alerted the flight attendant that the suspect flashed a box knife and said, “I want to kill, or I want to stab people.”

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The suspect went through screening at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport, and a box cutter was found. The visible blades were removed, and the rest were returned to the suspect, a violation of TSA regulations. The suspect’s backpack was then screened and then checked for explosives, but a 2nd box cutter inside was not found. The CRT operator did not use the full capabilities of the machine and will be undergoing remedial training.

The TSA sent the following statement to FOX 13:

TSA takes its role in transportation security very seriously. The situation with the Frontier flight is under investigation by the US Attorney’s Office, as they are the lead federal agency in this matter. TSA has started an internal review of the incident by viewing CCTV, and airport security checkpoint processes/operations and will continue to provide updates as they are available. TSA can confirm that blades are prohibited in the cabin but are allowed in checked luggage.

Two veterans and a former law enforcement officer assisted flight attendants with the suspect. The three men proceeded to the back of the plane where the suspect was sitting, and one even switched seats with a woman who was terrified. The men stayed with the suspect, and the according to one of the veterans, the law enforcement officer calmed the suspect down as the plane was landing.

The suspect was removed from the plane by Atlanta Police and FBI agents after the passengers were told to exit the aircraft without their carry-on luggage. Only then did they find out they were in Atlanta and not Tampa. All passengers were booked into a hotel for the night and flown out the next day.

The TSA has started its internal investigation and is reviewing videos from the screening checkpoint.

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