The pilot of a New York-bound flight prompted a terror scare Wednesday night after he locked himself in the bathroom and a passenger with a foreign accent tried to help by banging on the cockpit door.
According to the New York Post, the pilot of a Chatauqua Airlines Delta flight needed to relieve himself before landing in New York City. But when he tried to get out of the lavatory, the door jammed in the tight space, trapping him inside.
Desperate to get out so he could land the plane -- which was in a holding pattern above the airport -- he pounded on the door to attract attention. A passenger heard him and jumped up to help, at which point the pilot told him to go alert the crew to his stuck situation.
That's when the situation began to circle the drain: The co-pilot, still in the cockpit, became alarmed when he heard a passenger banging on the secure cockpit door, trying to gain entry.
According to an audio recordings, the co-pilot, sounding nervous and stammering, explained from his perspective what was happening to air traffic control.
"Can we leave the frequency for a minute? We are going to try to, uh contact dispatch," he said. "The captain disappeared in the back, and, uh, I have someone with a thick foreign accent trying to access the cockpit."
Even after the passenger said through the door that the captain was locked in the bathroom and provided the codeword to get into the cockpit, the co-pilot was remained suspicious.
"What I’m being told is he's stuck in the lav [lavatory], and, uh, someone with a thick foreign accent is giving me a password to access the cockpit," he said, not believing the passenger. "I’m not about to let him in."
The controller advised the pilot to declare an emergency and "just get on the ground."
Soon after, the captain was able to extricate himself and tell the crew everything was OK.
According to the Post, fighter planes were alerted to the situation but were not scrambled.
When an air traffic controller called to to ask whether there was "any level of disturbance on the airplane," the pilot responded, "negative."
"The captain, myself, went back to the lavatory and the door latch broke and I had to fight my way out of it with my body to get the door open," he said. "There is no issue, no threat."
The FBI and Port Authority police met the plane when it landed and spoke to the passenger briefly before realizing it was all a misunderstanding.
Listen to the full audio recording, via the New York Post: