Startled cabin crew had to reunite a loaded Glock 17 handgun with the bodyguard of the United Kingdom’s former Prime Minister, David Cameron after it was accidentally left in a lavatory onboard a flight from New York JFK to London Heathrow. The Metropolitan Police said it was urgently investigating the incident and had placed the close protection officer, as they’re known, on administrative leave.
Along with the handgun, a passenger who first made the discovery also found the passports of both the police officer and David Cameron in the lavatory. The discovery prompted a short delay but the flight was eventually allowed to depart.
“We are taking this matter extremely seriously and an internal investigation is taking place,” a spokesperson for the Met Police said of the incident.
Unlike in the United States, there are no such things as armed Air Marshalls in much of Europe, including the United Kingdom. However, the civil aviation authorities make special exemptions for government bodyguards to take their sidearms onboard flights.
A spokesperson for British Airways suggested that its crew dealt with the incident in their stride, saying “Our crew dealt with the issue quickly before departure and the flight continued as normal.”
“We follow CAA rules which allow UK police to carry firearms on board in specific, controlled circumstances,” the statement continued.
But one of the passenger’s on the flight said there was a near mutiny onboard when it was suggested the innocent passenger who found the gun should be the person who was removed from the flight. Ben McDonald told the Daily Mail that the Captain agreed and ordered the gun off the plane.
This isn’t the first time one of the Met’s close protection officer’s has left a gun in a public toilet. Back in 2008, one of Tony Blair’s bodyguards left her gun in the restroom of a central London branch of Starbucks. Again, the missing sidearm was discovered by a member of the public before being handed into the authorities without incident.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.