Flight #297…..Terrorist Practice?
[Editor’s note: this is a compelling story that is appearing widely on other blogs. The facts are inconclusive as yet (see Snopes: flight297.asp ) but an Airtran statment claims that the quoted witness Ted Petruna was not even on the plane having arrived too late at the gate ( Hero wasn’t on plane ). As David suggests – do your own research and draw your own conclusion]
Good evening South Florida 9/12. I was just checking my email and read a forward, which, if this is the first you’ve heard of it, I believe could and should become the news story of the month.
In a nutshell, on November 17, 2009 there was an incident on Airtran Flt. #297 from Atlanta to Houston. The little media attention only said that a flight was cancelled due to a man refusing to shut off his cell phone.
According to the story as reported by passenger Ted Petruna, which I’ll weave back and forth with paraphrases and italicized quotes starting here:
…”This was NOT what happened. I was in 1st class coming home. 11 Muslim men got on the plane in full attire. 2 sat in 1st class and the rest peppered themselves throughout the plane all the way to the back. As the plane taxied to the runway the stewardesses gave the safety spiel we are all so familiar with. At that time, one of the men got on his cell and called one of his companions in the back and proceeded to talk on the phone in Arabic very loudly and very aggressively. This took the 1st stewardess out of the picture for she repeatedly told the man that cell phones were not permitted at the time. He ignored her as if she was not there. The 2nd man who answered the phone did the same and this took out the 2nd stewardess.”
Please note, I am simply copying and pasting directly from the email I received. The grammatical and spelling errors are not mine.
So, the flight was boarding just as thousands do everyday, and these eleven guys start acting very suspiciously. I think we all get that, but then the plot started to thicken. While two of the flight attendants are now busy dealing with the cell phone jerks, (you may feel free to inject a different word than “jerks”) all of a sudden:
….”In the back of the plane at this time, 2 younger Muslims, one in the back aisle, and one in front of him, window, began to show footage of a porno they had taped the night before, and were very loud about it. Now, they are only permitted to do this prior to Jihad.”
“The 3rd stewardess informed them that they were not to have electronic devices on at this time. To which one of the men said “shut up infidel dog!” She went to take the camcorder and he began to scream in her face in Arabic. At that exact moment, all 11 of them got up and started to walk the cabin.”
This is where Mr. Petruna was done listening to the nonsense. At this point he got up and started for the back of the plane to assist the flight attendants, and at least one other man offered to help him. The two of them proceeded to subdue the “jerks” and escort them to the cabin door.
Mr. Petruna continued, “As I escorted him forward the plane doors open and 3 TSA agents and 4 police officers entered. Me and my new Texan friend were told to cease and desist for they had this under control. I was happy to oblige actually. There was some commotion in the back, but within moments, all 11 were escorted off the plane. They then unloaded their luggage. We talked about the occurrence and were in disbelief that it had happen, when suddenly, the door open again and on walked all 11!! Stone faced, eyes front and robotic (the only way I can describe it). The stewardess from the back had been in tears and when she saw this, she was having NONE of it! Being that I was up front, I heard and saw the whole ordeal. She told the TSA agent there was NO WAY she was staying on the plane with these men. The agent told her they had searched them and were going to go through their luggage with a fine tooth comb and that they were allowed to proceed to Houston. The captain and co-captain came out and told the agent “we and our crew will not fly this plane!” After a word or two, the entire crew, luggage in tow, left the plane. 5 minutes later, the cabin door opened again and a whole new crew walked on. Again…this is where I had had enough!!! I got up and asked “What the hell is going on!?!?” I was told to take my seat. They were sorry for the delay and I would be home shortly. I said “I’m getting off this plane”. The stewardess sternly told me that she could not allow me to get off. (now I’m mad!) I said “I am a grown man who bought this ticket, whose time is mine with a family at home and I am going through that door, or I’m going through that door with you under my arm!! But I am going through that door!!” And I heard a voice behind me say “so am I”. Then everyone behind us started to get up and say the same. Within 2 minutes, I was walking off that plane where I was met with more agents who asked me to write a statement. I had 5 hours to kill at this point so why the hell not. Due to the amount of people who got off that flight, it was cancelled.”
I Googled this because I simply couldn’t fathom that it could be true. Well, there’s a whole plethora of information about the incident and I invite everyone to check it out to draw your own conclusions. All you have to do is search Google with “Airtran flight #297.”
Snopes gave it the normal wishy/washy review they give to, in my opinion, all touchy subjects. But, they did at least partially acknowledge it as having happened. I doubt we’ll ever hear the complete facts of this incident, which in and of itself is a tragedy, but I absolutely believe that it very clearly brings into focus how dangerous political correctness truly is.
If the meat of this story is true and those people hadn’t made the stand they made, I believe it is very likely that this would have become a very tragic news event that everyone would know about. I also believe that a group of men dressed and behaving as those men were should never have been allowed on that plane in the first place. Profile all day long if it means saving lives! It was as Mr. Petruna said, very likely a dry run. I think I’d call it a dress rehearsal.
I guess I’ll close this by saying that we must remain vigilant at all times and never be afraid to do the right thing in every given situation, regardless of the potential labeling. Have a great and safe weekend.