A United Airlines captain flushed bullets down an on board toilet after realising he had brought them onto a plane he was flying to Germany.
The pilot, who has not been identified, first threw the ammunition into a public bin on the plane before a flight attendant spotted them and he flushed them down a toilet.
US pilots are allowed to carry a gun on a domestic flight under post-9/11 laws intended to make planes harder to hijack. They are not allowed to carry arms onto international flights and Germany has strict gun laws.
He informed the authorities about the incident and when the plane landed in Munich it was guided to a remote parking position. Fire fighters in protective suits recovered 10 bullets from the waste tanks, the Aviation Herald reported.
Munich airport confirmed to the specialist site that the incident on June 24 was true and that the plane was delayed by four hours returning to the States.
United spokeswoman Karen May told Associated Press on Thursday that the pilot should not have thrown the bullets in the toilet. He still has his job - but is under investigation.
“He did incorrectly dispose of the ammunition,” May said, “but it is likely that the pilot is not going to face any criminal charges.”
United would not say whether the pilot had been temporarily suspended from flying. He is likely very experienced as it takes many years of seniority for pilots to become captains on international flights for major US airlines.
Additional reporting Associated PressReuse content