On Thursday, a mechanic for American Airlines was arrested and charged with sabotage.

Allegedly, officials discovered the man had intentionally disabled the navigation system of a 150-person flight in July.

Here’s a portion of the complaint affidavit against 60-year-old Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, courtesy of the Miami Herald:

Just prior to taking the departure runway, the flight crew increased power to the engines to pre-position the Target Aircraft for takeoff. The action of powering up the Target Aircraft’s engine resulted in an error related to the air data module (ADM) system which, in part, records aircraft speed, pitch, and other critical flight data. The takeoff was ordered aborted and the Target Aircraft was directed to return to MIA’s concourse D, gate 48, for maintenance.

Thankfully, another mechanic detected a loose tube connected to the ADM. Upon further inspection, it was revealed someone had caused a deliberate obstruction with “a dark Styrofoam-type material.”

This is how he supposedly did it, as noted by the Herald:

According to the complaint affidavit, Alani glued the foam inside the tube leading from outside the plane to its air data module, a system that reports aircraft speed, pitch and other critical flight data. As a result, if the plane had taken off that day from MIA, the pilots would have had to operate the aircraft manually because the ADM system would not have received any computer data.

So why??

The affidavit asserts recent discord between the mechanics’ union and the airline “had affected [Abdul-Majeed] financially.”

As per the document, the disgruntled employee admitted to his vandalism. The treachery’s purpose: to cause a flight delay which would grant him overtime.

Speaking with federal air mashals, the man insisted he had no desire to harm passengers.

He might as well have confessed — a seven-minute security video shows him doing it.

From the September 5th statement:

Alani admitted he accessed the ADM in the Target Aircraft’s forward E&E compartment. He further admitted that he inserted a piece of foam into the ADM’s inlet where the line connects and that he applied super glue to the foam so as to prevent the foam coming off.

American Airlines released a response Friday:

On July 17, flight 2834 from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, returned to the gate due to a maintenance issue. Passengers boarded a new aircraft which then re-departed for Nassau. At American we have an unwavering commitment to the safety and security of our customers and team members and we are taking this matter very seriously. At the time of the incident, the aircraft was taken out of service, maintenance was performed and after an inspection to ensure it was safe the aircraft was returned to service. American immediately notified federal law enforcement who took over the investigation with our full cooperation.

This story is terrifying.

Was Abdul-Majeed’s motivation solely that of an insufficient paycheck? Either way, the potential impact was the same. And had a malfunction resulted in the deaths of 150 innocents, an incriminating video after the fact would’ve brought back no one.

There can never be true justice in the case of a single murder. Much less the slaughter of 150.

Thank goodness the flight never took off.

The next morning, the plane was ready to safely again take to the skies.

-ALEX

 

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