Airline mechanic charged with sabotaging plane with 150 aboard

MIAMI — An American Airlines mechanic is accused of sabotaging a Nassau bound flight from Miami International Airport in July.

In a criminal complaint affidavit filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office obtained by The Miami Herald, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani was reportedly unhappy because of stalled union negotiations between the mechanics union and the airline.

Alani was arrested Thursday and accused of disabling a component of the navigation system known as an air data module.

Pilots noticed the issue July 17 when they got an error message during takeoff. They aborted the flight, with 150 on board. An inspection revealed that someone had deliberately obstructed a connection tube, an act of sabotage that could have blocked electronic communications and forced the pilots to fly manually, according to The Herald.

Alani admitted to federal air marshals that he had tampered with the device to get the flight delayed or canceled so that he would get overtime work, according to the affidavit.

Alani was identified as the saboteur after he was spotted on video footage accessing the compartment where the equipment is located on the plane.

Read more at The Miami Herald