view counter

Man boards plane with three box cutters at New York's JFK

Published 3 March 2011

On Saturday 26 February 2011, a man slipped passed TSA security screeners at New York’s JFK Airport and boarded a plane with three box cutters; the box cutters were only discovered after a flight attendant saw them fall out of his bag; two TSA agents and their supervisor did not see the blades as they passed through an X-ray machine; the flight was grounded for three hours as the plane’s passengers and crew members were evacuated and searched while the plane was swept for bombs; the two agents and their supervisor “will all be disciplined and undergo remedial training”; the passenger was not charged with any crime

On Saturday 26 February 2011, a man slipped passed TSA security screeners at New York’s JFK Airport and boarded a plane with three box cutters in his carryon bag.

The box cutters were only discovered after a flight attendant requested the passenger store his bag in the overhead bin and they fell out.

The flight attendant grabbed the box cutters and immediately alerted the authorities.
The JetBlue flight headed bound for the Dominican Republic was grounded for three hours as the Port Authority Policed Department (PAPD) Emergency Service Units, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the FBI responded to the incident.

 

The plane’s 136 passengers and five crew members were evacuated and searched while the plane was swept for bombs.

The passenger, Eusebio D. Peraltalajara, a factory worker at Seacaucus manufacturing plant, said that he uses box cutters at his job and forgot that they were in his bag.

PAPD officials blamed Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners for failing to spot the threat. Two TSA agents and their supervisor did not see the blades as they passed through an X-ray machine.

A PAPD source said, “In case anyone has forgotten, the TSA was created because of a couple box cutter incidents.”

According to Ann Davis, a TSA spokeswoman, the two agents and their supervisor “will all be disciplined and undergo remedial training.”

Davis added that the passengers were not at risk because “a number of additional security layers that have been implemented on aircraft that would prevent someone from causing harm with box cutters.”

They include the possible presence of armed federal air marshals, hardened cockpit doors, flight crews trained in self-defense and a more vigilant traveling public who have demonstrated a willingness to intervene,” she said.

Peraltalajara was not charged with any crime.