Frontier engineer sabotages jet
A Frontier Airlines mechanic was charged in a federal court in Denver yesterday (Thursday) with sabotaging a Dallas-bound yet to prevent it from taking off because he thought the aircraft was not safe.
Corydon Van Dyke Cochran, 44, allegedly threw a rubber wheel chock into the running engine of a Boeing 737 after deciding that was the only way to prevent Frontier flight 136 from taking off on New Year's Day.
Cochran, who has been suspended from his job pending an investigation, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 (£156,000) fine if convicted, prosecutors said.
According to an affidavit filed with8 the court by FBI Special Agent Nick Vanicelli, the incident occurred at about 12.40pm on New Year's Day as Frontier flight 136 was preparing to depart to Dallas Fort Worth.
Pilot David Davidson was in the cockpit preparing to depart when he saw Cochran walk towards the front of the aircraft and throw a wheel chock into the number one engine, which was running, the affidavit said. Davidson shut down the aircraft and it was towed back to the gate.
Cochran had seen a burned-out light on the jet's wing and was concerned that an inspection that had been done in Tampa the previous day was "probably suspect", Vanicelli told the court.
"Cochran explained that he felt aircraft 313 was unsafe and should have a lightning strike inspection performed on it prior to departing," the affidavit said.
"Cochran stated that as the aircraft was being pushed back from the gate, he decided that the only way to keep it flying was to disable it."
Frontier spokeswoman Elise Eberwein said: "There certainly were other options he probably could have taken to prevent the flight from departing," including notifying the Federal Aviation Administration.
The plane had been inspected twice in Tampa on Tuesday night, flown uneventfully to Denver and had been checked again there for possible damage, Eberwein said.