Last updated: 02:59 PM ET, Thu March 10 2016

Flight Attendant Sets Fire on American Airlines Plane Midflight

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | March 03, 2016

Flight Attendant Sets Fire on American Airlines Plane Midflight

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

A crew member on an American Airlines flight reportedly started a fire in the bathroom of the plane, claimed he discovered it and then extinguished the blaze.

According to Alastair Jamieson of, 23-year-old Johnathan Tafoya-Montano from Texas was working on American Airlines Flight AA1418 from Dallas-Fort Worth to Detroit in February when authorities claim he deliberately started a fire in the lavatory of the plane.

Tafoya-Montano then extinguished the flames, and the pilot was forced to tell air traffic controllers that he needed to make an immediate landing in Detroit. After the plane landed safely, the passengers and crew were removed from the aircraft.

READ MORE: Flight Attendant Fist Fight Diverts Delta Flight

The National Transportation Safety Board investigated the fire and determined it was set on purpose. Investigators found that no one had been in the bathroom besides Tafoya-Montano within 15-20 minutes of the fire breaking out.

As a result, Tafoya-Montano was arrested Tuesday and charged with destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities and lying to investigators. According to reports, Tafoya-Montano admitted to authorities that he set the fire by lighting paper towels on fire before putting it out with a fire extinguisher.

American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein told, “We take this matter very seriously, and have been cooperating with law enforcement throughout their investigation.”


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