CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - An American Airlines flight was deplaned at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport Sunday evening after a stun gun was found on board.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed to WBTV that the stun gun was disguised as a cell phone.
The plane was traveling from San Francisco International Airport to Charlotte-Douglas when the incident happened. An FBI spokesperson said a passenger noticed an odd item underneath a seat. American Airlines then asked for law enforcement assistance in handling the matter.
Officials said that when the plane landed, it was sent to a hotspot area at the airport and passengers were deplaned. The plane was checked by K9s and members of a bomb squad.
The stun gun disguised as a cell phone was removed from the plane and an investigation into the incident is now underway.
The incident comes as a surprise to WBTV Safety Analyst Karl de la Guerra.
"That's still pretty remarkable to think that it would be okay to bring it on to an aircraft," said de la Guerra.
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), travelers cannot carry a stun gun onto a plane, but are allowed to pack one in a checked bag. It is unclear how the stun gun ended up near passengers on the American Airlines flight.
"With the imagination being the limit for what you're going to disguise a device as, that developmental curve is always ahead of the detection curve," said de la Guerra.
Representatives from the TSA would not comment on the incident, but officials familiar with the situation noted.that just because the item was found on the plane doesn't mean it necessarily went through a security checkpoint.
Stun guns that look like cell phones are sold online and marketed as self-defense tools, but de la Guerra said they could be potentially dangerous on an aircraft.
"These type of devices need to be kept out of the airline system," said de la Guerra. "You can imagine what a disaster multiple stun guns on an aircraft would be."
De la Guerra said that stun guns disguised as phones can be legally purchased depending on the jurisdiction. He said it is up to the consumer to know the laws in their jurisdiction.
No one has been cited or arrested in connection to this incident.