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Pilot trapped in bathroom creates landing scare

November 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
What was a seemingly routine flight from Asheville, N.C., to New York City turned into anything but a routine landing Wednesday night.

Just as the plane was approaching New York's LaGuardia Airport, the co-pilot of Delta flight 6132, operated by regional carrier Chautauqua Airlines, realized the captain was nowhere to be found. He radioed air traffic control for help.

Seconds earlier, a man with a thick accent tried to gain access to the cockpit to tell the co-pilot the captain wasn't going to make the landing.

"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 got to deal with the situation," the co-pilot told air traffic control.

As it turns out, it was a false alarm. The captain was trapped in the bathroom by a faulty door latch and had given the passenger with the heavy accent the security code for the cockpit door. But the co-pilot wasn't buying it.

Controllers on the ground, not taking any chances, ordered an emergency landing.

Sources tell ABC News that fighter jets were nearly scrambled. But a few minutes later, the captain managed to get out of the bathroom and told controllers everything was OK.