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US pilot flushed bullets down plane’s toilet; probe ordered

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A United Airlines pilot flushed bullets down a toilet on board a flight to Germany after realising he had brought live ammunition onto the plane, prompting the airline to launch a probe.

The incident aboard the flight from Houston in US to Munich occurred in June.

“A United pilot improperly disposed of ammunition during a flight last month from Houston to Munich,” the airline was quoted by CNN as saying in a statement.

“We are reviewing the incident, and the pilot remains an employee,” the airline said yesterday.

Under federal law, a pilot is allowed to carry weapons, but only in the US.

“Under the Federal Flight Deck Officer programme, eligible flight crew members are authorised by the Transportation Security Administration to use firearms to defend against an act of criminal violence or air piracy attempting to gain control of an aircraft,” TSA said.

Eligible crew members are not allowed to bring firearms or ammunition when flying outside the US or when not on duty.

According to The Aviation Herald, the aircraft was enroute when the pilot discovered that he was still carrying 10 bullets in his luggage, the ammunition not being permitted to be taken into Germany.

The captain therefore decided to get rid of the bullets and disposed of the ammunition into a trash bin.

A flight attendant who discovered the bullets dutifully brought and reported the bullets to the captain.

The pilot then decided to ultimately get rid of the bullets and dumped them down the toilet.

Later the captain explained the situation to the flight attendant and informed ground.

The aircraft was taken to a remote parking position after landing in Munich, and airport fire fighters recovered six bullets in the search.

A second search discovered the remaining 4 bullets and the aircraft was able to depart for its return flight with a delay of 4 hours.

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