- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 22, 2017

A federal air marshal misplaced her loaded service weapon in the bathroom of a transatlantic flight earlier this month before it was ultimately found by another passenger, according to multiple reports.

The incident happened aboard Delta Flight #221 on April 6 as the aircraft traveled to New York City from Manchester, England, CNN and the New York Times each reported this week citing several unnamed sources.

The passenger who found the weapon in the aircraft’s bathroom alerted the flight crew who subsequently returned it to the air marshal, the outlets reported.

Both outlets described the unidentified air marshal as a relatively new hire who failed to notify her superiors about the incident until several days later. She reportedly remains on the job, however.

“You can’t have inept people leaving weapons in a lavatory,” former air marshal Craig Sawyer told the New York Times. “If someone with ill intent gets hold of that weapon on an aircraft, they are now armed.”

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said in a statement that it was aware of an unspecified incident on April 6 and is “reviewing the circumstances of this incident.”

“These rare incidents must be thoroughly investigated and local managers should take appropriate corrective action,” John Casaretti, president of the Air Marshal Association, told CNN. “A field training officer program and thorough mentorship of new officers can reduce similar performance issues.”

“Air marshals work in punishing conditions, labor under poor leadership and have seen their law enforcement functions curtailed by an administration that lacks vision. The problem is not the air marshals, it’s the TSA,” he insisted.

A Delta spokesperson declined to comment aside from acknowledging the incident, CNN reported.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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