A disgruntled American Airlines mechanic appeared in court Friday, accused of sabotaging a plane headed to the Bahamas from Miami, all over a contract dispute.
Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, a 60-year-old mechanic, was charged with “willfully damaging, destroying, disabling, or wrecking an aircraft.” According to reports, the plane was carrying 150 people on board on July 17. Luckily, no one onboard was injured.
As the plane started to make its way down the runway and pilots increased the power to the engines, an error message popped up related to the ADM system, and the takeoff was aborted.
According to reports, the airplane returned back to the concourse and American Airlines mechanics immediately inspected it and discovered it had been tampered with.
Surveillance video showed Alani at the gate before the flight took off, and a formal complaint said he deliberately obstructed the ADM (air data module) system, which reports the aircraft’s speed, pitch, and other critical information.
Investigators interviewed Alani Thursday and he “admitted that he accessed the ADM” and that he “inserted a piece of foam into the ADM’s inlet where the line connects and that he applied super glue to the foam so as to prevent the foam from coming off.”
Reports indicate that Alani, who has worked at American Airlines for over 30 years, told investigators that he did not intend to harm the plane or passengers. Court documents say he was upset over a contract dispute between union workers and the airlines and that the dispute had cost him money. He said he tampered with the aircraft to cause a flight delay or cancellation in hopes of receiving overtime.
According to CNN, no formal plea was entered during Friday’s court hearing. A bond hearing for Alani was set for Wednesday. The federal government has until September 20 for a grand jury to return an indictment.