Bullets on plane: US pilot flushes ammo down toilet mid-flight to avoid suspicion

Reuters/Eduardo Munoz
A United Airlines pilot is under investigation after throwing bullets into a trash can and then flushing them down a toilet en-route to Germany. He dumped the ammunition over worries he could get into trouble due to Germany’s strict gun laws.

The incident is currently being looked into by the Transportation Security Administration, while the airline says they are also investigating the matter.

The vastly experienced captain was in charge of a United Airlines flight from Houston to Munich on June 23. A spokeswoman for United, Karen May said that during the journey, he realized he had left some bullets in his bag.

US pilots are allowed to carry guns and ammunition on domestic flights under a post 9/11 program, which is intended to make planes harder to hijack. The pilot didn’t have his weapon with him, but had forgotten to take his bullets out of his bag, the Aviation Herald reported, as cited by AP.

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Fearful of Germany’s strict gun laws, the captain proceeded to dump the bullets in a rubbish bin. However, the ammunition was later found by a flight attendant, who was looking through trash on the aircraft in search of a ring that had been lost. Upon finding the bullets, the flight attendant reported the incident to the captain.

The pilot proceeded to flush the bullets down the toilet, but then informed German authorities of what had happened when he realized that the flight crew member would report the incident.

"He did incorrectly dispose of the ammunition," May said, according to AP, "but it is likely that the pilot is not going to face any criminal charges." She added he was still employed by United, but would not say if he had been suspended.

After the plane landed in Munich, and when the passengers had disembarked, it taxied to a remote part of the airport, where the waste tanks were emptied to find the bullets.