American Airlines Flight Attendant Charged in In-Flight Fire

By Paul Riegler on 3 March 2016
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DSC_0750An American Airlines flight attendant was arrested by the FBI and charged with intentionally setting a fire during a flight.

The flight attendant, Johnathan Tafoya-Montana, allegedly set fire to paper towels in the rear lavatory on a flight from Dallas to Detroit on February 1 with the intention of getting credited as a hero by putting it out.

Documents filed in U.S. District Court state that the flight attendant set fire to the lavatory’s paper towels using a Bic lighter, exited the lav, waited in the aisle for several minutes, and then pretended to discover the fire. He used a fire extinguisher to put the fire out and declared an emergency to other members of the cabin crew.

Tafoya-Montana was charged with “destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities” and “false statements or entries generally” after recanting his original story in a subsequent interview with the FBI. He was released on bond and allowed to return to Dallas but is not permitted to fly on an airplane without the court’s permission while the case is pending. On his return flight to Dallas, he was accompanied by an American Airlines security officer and required to remain seated throughout the entire flight.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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