US Airways worker stows-away in plane bound for Charlotte - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

US Airways worker stows-away in plane bound for Charlotte

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - For the second time since November, authorities say someone managed to stow away on a plane that either took off or landed at the airport in Charlotte.

In November, North Meck High student Delvonte Tisdale stowed away in the wheel well of a plane which took off from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. The teen was later found dead after falling out as the plane as it approached the airport in Boston.

Authorities say early Tuesday morning, a U.S. Airways employee hid on a Boeing 737-400 in Tampa which flew to Charlotte. The employee then made it all the way to Pittsburgh on another plane.

The US Airways worker was apprehended at Pittsburgh International Airport shortly before noon by deputies with the Allegheny County Sheriff's Department. The man asked to be taken for a psychiatric evaluation after being taken into custody.

The US Airways worker who stowed away is based in Tampa. Sources say he is a mechanic who would have known the plane very well.

Tampabay.com reported the employee stowed away in an unpressurized area of the plane. Experts tell WBTV that would made it very difficult for him to survive.

When Delvonte Tisdale climbed into the wheel well of a plane last November, it was in an unpressurized area and experts believe that contributed significantly to his death.

An unpressurized area at high altitude has very little oxygen to breathe, and would also be extremely cold.

The employee first secretly boarded the Tampa flight at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday and switched planes in Charlotte. Somehow the employee obtained a boarding pass and got on the Pittsburgh-bound plane at Charlotte-Douglas, sources told WBTV reporters.

US Airways released a statement Tuesday evening saying it had "an incident" with a worker, but provided very few details.

"We can confirm that we had an incident with an employee in this morning and are working with the proper authorities to determine exactly what occurred," said US Airways Spokesperson Valerie Wunder in a written email to WBTV.

Wunder went on to say the airline would not be giving any details on the subject.

"Out of respect for our employee's privacy, we will not be providing additional details about this situation," Wunder said.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released a statement Tuesday evening confirming they are investigating the alleged breach "to determine whether a US Airways employee may have improperly used his airport credentials to access the aircraft and subsequently travel on a flight from Tampa to Charlotte."

The TSA also said the employee's airport access credentials have been revoked pending the outcome of the investigation.

This stowaway comes just seven months after Tisdale snuck onto the tarmac in Charlotte and got into the landing gear of a plane that was also US Airways plane. (Click to more about this story.)

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