It was a terrifying alert from the co-pilot of a Delta jet approaching New York City: "The captain has disappeared.
Where was the pilot?
The captain had left the cockpit to use the bathroom and didn't come back. Then a passenger tried to get in. It looked like a possible hijacking.
"The captain has disappeared in the back and I have someone with a thick foreign accent trying to access the cockpit right now and I've got to deal with the situation," the co-pilot told air traffic control.
But this was no terrorist hijacking. It turned out the captain was trapped in the airplane bathroom. There was a faulty latch and he couldn't get the door open from the inside. So he shouted to a passenger to tell the co-pilot that he was trapped. He even gave the passenger the security code to access the cockpit. Unfortunately, the passenger had a heavy accent and that made the co-pilot suspicious.
"What I am being told is he is stuck in the lav and someone with a thick foreign accent is giving me a password to access the cockpit and I'm not about to let him in," said the co-pilot.
"You guys ought to just declare an emergency and get on the ground," said the air traffic controller.
"Thanks," said the co-pilot.
But minutes later the pilot managed to free himself.
"I just want to make sure there isn't any level disturbance in the aircraft," said the air traffic controller.
"Negative! The door latch broke and I had to fight my way out of it so I used my body to get the door open," said the captain.