UnNews:Parts for entire sewing machine in sandwiches on Air Canada flight
17 August 2012
TORONTO, Canada -- Life is starting to return to normal for friends and relatives of the passengers of Air Canada Flight 843. For eight tense hours earlier today, they could only helplessly watch the Boeing 777 circle overhead as authorities struggled to make sense of the horrifying events.
Approximately twenty minutes into a routine trip from Ottawa to Vancouver, a passenger on Flight 843 discovered a small piece of metal in his turkey sandwich. Stewardesses were at a loss to identify the metal until an elderly woman in a nearby seat said, "that looks like the presser foot from a sewing machine." Within minutes, others had discovered similar bits of metal in their sandwiches. Passenger Susan Drake injured the roof of her mouth when she bit down on a looping hook. "It was like nothing I've ever had in a turkey sandwich before," she said. "I didn't like it."
Stewardesses began to collect the parts on a food cart. The rest of the food from the cabin was searched and the pile of parts grew to over twenty pounds of metal. Stewardess Kathy Rhein realized that the parts all belonged to a single sewing machine.
"That's when everyone started to freak," says Mills Sewell who was copilot on the flight. "There were lots of people screaming things like, 'we're all going to die,' and, 'it's come to take us to Hell.' So I requested that the air marshal do something about the parts to calm everyone down." His hands shook as he added, "I had no idea he was going to put it together."
Witnesses say the flight's air marshal, whose identity has not yet been released, sequestered himself in the 777's galley with the food cart of parts and began putting the machine together. Despite passenger's protests, he completed the device which turned out to be some sort of antique Singer treadle sewing machine. Several people claim to have heard him say, "you are so beautiful," as he put the last screw into the housing with the tip of a butter knife. "It really was," says one passenger, "it was such a beautiful, beautiful machine."
The pilot requested an emergency landing at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport but the tower repeatedly refused to allow the aircraft to land while it had a functioning sewing machine aboard. In a press conference, tower director Mack Stephens told reporters he was "unwilling to endanger the entire airport with an unknown mechanical device." He instructed the tower crew to keep Flight 843 aloft until the danger could be completely assessed.
Meanwhile, a passenger from first class had produced a spool of thread and several people were in line to have various garments repaired. "I was utterly terrified," says Beth McAndrews who owns a cupcake bakery in Vancouver. "But then again, I had this torn seam in my skirt that I'd been meaning to get repaired before I left Ottawa. So I figured why not." She says that she and several other passengers waited patiently as the air marshal skillfully operated the antique machine, performing several clothing repairs.
Eight hours later, as the fuel level in the 777 was nearing empty, authorities completed a quarantine area around one of the runways and allowed the plane to land. Stunned passengers were carted off to a local hospital and the pilot, copilot, and air marshal were taken away to be debriefed. An hour later, a demolition team destroyed the aircraft (which presumably still contained the sewing machine) using 6,000 lbs of thermite. The charred wreckage was removed and sent to be buried thousands of feet under the earth in an abandoned uranium mine in Saskatchewan.
Airline spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick says Air Canada is taking the matter "very seriously" and is working closely with its caterers to ensure "heightened security measures are in place."
- Associated Press "Passenger finds needle in catered sandwich on Air Canada flight" Global News: BC 1, August 1, 2012
- CNN Wire Staff "Passenger finds needle in Air Canada sandwich" CNN, August 1, 2012