Look At Me! AA Attendant Charged With Setting Fire On Plane

Open Jaw

File this one under ‘bad hire.’

A flight attendant started a fire in an AA aircraft’s lavatory and then pretended to discover and extinguish it, the FBI said Wednesday.

Johnathan Tafoya-Montano, 23, is charged with "destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities" and lying to investigators, investigators said in a news release.

A court document states he was working on Flight AA1418 from DFW to DTW 01FEB when he reported there had been a fire in a rear lavatory and that he had extinguished the flames. Perhaps he wanted to be seen as a hero.

The captain notified air traffic controllers and declared an emergency but the plane, which was already on approach to DTW, landed without incident and all pax safely disembarked.

NTSB investigators later concluded that the fire was started deliberately and that nobody else had been in the lavatory for at least 15-20 min. prior to the blaze.

Tafoya-Montano was arrested Tuesday and interviewed in Detroit where he admitting previously lying about the fire, according to the court document. It added that Tafoya-Montano said he used a green Bic disposable lighter to set fire to paper towels in the lavatory and then "pretended to discover the fire" before putting it out with a fire extinguisher and notifying other crew members of an emergency.

He was charged and released on bond on condition that he was prohibited from flying without permission from a court, the FBI said.


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