Passengers flee after gunman takes over jet at JFK

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The Independent US

Passengers fled a jet at John F Kennedy airport in New York on Thursday after a man forced his way on board and threatened to shoot the pilot.

Passengers fled a jet at John F Kennedy airport in New York on Thursday after a man forced his way on board and threatened to shoot the pilot.

The five-hour emergency onNational Airlines flight 19, which had been scheduled to fly to Las Vegas, ended early yesterday when Aaron Commey, 22, a New Yorker, surrendered two hours after freeing the pilot. No one was injured.

Police said they had no idea of any motive. Mr Commey was said to have made assorted demands, including being put in contact with the Argentinian consulate in New York and being given safe passage to Argentina and Antarctica.

Frank Clark, a passenger, said: "I heard this bustle and commotion behind me at the door and I heard a man's voice saying, 'Just secure the door. Secure the door now.' Then he walked right through first-class at a high rate of speed toward the cockpit. People in the aisle across from me said, 'He's got a gun.' That's when all hell broke loose."

Mr Commey's father, Samuel, had no explanation for his actions or his apparent interest in Argentina. "There might be something wrong with him mentally," he said.

The Boeing 757 had been delayed by fog. Mr Commey, brandishing a small silver gun, ran past security staff and entered the aircraft, witnesses said. Police were alerted when a security guard pressed a secret alarm button near the gate. A Swat team surrounded the aircraft within minutes.

Some passengers criticised the airport security.

The Federal Aviation Administration said its initial impression was that the security system had worked as intended. In Washington, Les Dorr, an FAA spokesman, said: "As soon as the guy brandished the gun the checkpoint people notified the airport police." Mr Dorr said the security contractor, airport police, the airlines and the FBI "all had a really excellent response to the situation".

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