GSA CIO tweets from endangered plane

This weekend, Casey Coleman, the General Services Administration’s chief information officer, happened to be aboard a United Airlines flight from Washington Dulles International Airport to Las Vegas when a passenger attempted to open an exit door on the airplane during the flight.

Coleman tweeted about the event from her seat on the plane: “During our flight to Las Vegas, some lunatic tried to open the front exit hatch in midair. About a dozen men rushed him [and] held him down,” Coleman tweeted at 4:15 p.m. on Jan. 23.

One minute later, Coleman tweeted: “The flight attendant surrounded this nut with big male passengers while we diverted to Denver to drop him off w/the FBI there.”

“There is clearly a new alert and assertive spirit of self-defense among American air travelers!” she added.

According to news reports, the passenger stood up abruptly from his seat, pushing his way down the aisle to the front of the plane. Passengers panicked when the large man tried to open a side exit and made his way to the cockpit, another passenger told the New York Daily News. A number of other passengers stopped him and forced him into a seat, the report states. The plane made an emergency landing in Denver soon afterward.

Authorities were awaiting the man when the plane touched down in Denver, according to news reports.

Once the ordeal was finished, the flight finished the last leg of the trip.

“We are boarding a different plane now and should be on our way to LAS soon. #UA223,” Coleman tweeted finally at 6:16 p.m.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Reader Comments

Thu, Feb 18, 2010 ForTheBlues

Is the FCC investigation underway on the use of a wireless device in the air. This isn't a FAA ruling but a law from the FCC. Serious laws were broken. Personally I think the law is outdated and should be revoked but that is another discussion.

Sun, Jan 31, 2010 NandoGroup Washington, DC

The GSA CIO was just giving an update to a flight that went really bad. And when was it a crime to tweet while the nut case is being hauled away?

Tue, Jan 26, 2010 Mike Rockville, MD

Ok, is it just me or is there another question here: Why is a Federal CIO using a wireless device on a flight where United Airlines has not setup their accepted WiFi solution? It's nice to know that the leadership in the Federal government can break the rules they are trying to enforce.

Tue, Jan 26, 2010 Mike Annapolis, MD

What is even more interesting about this is how the GSA CIO got a wireless connection on a flight without United Airlines WiFi access. It's nice to know that the Federal technology leadership can bypass the rules to post comments on a site. Shouldn't these people be setting the example rather than breaking the rules?

Tue, Jan 26, 2010 Hmmmmm

You know he couldn't open the door of the plane, right? They all open by pulling in first. That's impossible while the aircraft is pressurized. Good job surrounding the idiot, though. He might have done something else stupid that actually hurt somebody.....

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