PHOTO: A pilot has been arrested in Albany, New York after TSA officers discovered a loaded weapon in his carry-on bags. (photo via Flickr/Bernal Saborio)
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is confirming that an airline co-pilot has been arrested at Albany International Airport (ALB) after TSA officers discovered a loaded .380 caliber handgun in his carry-on bag. The firearm was loaded with six bullets, according to a TSA press release.
The man has been identified by the TSA as a first officer with Southwest Airlines. The firearm was first detected by a TSA officer operating the X-ray machine who immediately contacted the Albany County Sheriff’s Deputy assigned to the checkpoint.
The deputy confiscated the weapon and the pilot was arrested on a weapons charge.
According to a statement by Southwest Airlines to Business Insider, the pilot did not realize the loaded weapon was in his carry-on bag.
Meanwhile, the arrest sent Southwest scrambling to find a new co-pilot for the Chicago-Midway-bound flight, delaying departure by nearly four hours. Some passengers were re-booked while others waited out the delay.
Apparently, this is the second time TSA officers have confiscated a firearm at Albany in the last four weeks.
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“This incident highlights the importance of what TSA and its dedicated security officers do each and every day in protecting the flying public,” said TSA’s Upstate New York Federal Security Director Bart R. Johnson.
The pilot faces possible criminal charges as well as civil penalties of up to $12,000.
The TSA reminds passengers it is their responsibility to check their carry-on bags to make sure they are in compliance with federal aviation regulations.