Two American aircrew for major U.S.-based airlines were shot in two separate incidents in the space of just one week while on work assignments in Colombia according to a source with knowledge of the incidents.
The crew members were seriously injured after being shot in the botched robbery attempts but both are said to be expected to make a full recovery.
According to airline source JonNYC, one of the crew works for United Airlines while the other is believed to be working for Delta Air Lines. The armed robberies occurred during layovers in the Colombian cities of Bogata and Cali.
United has sent out an urgent alert to its aircrew telling them not to attempt to resist a robbery. Pilots and flight attendants have been told to leave showy watches and other valuables in their hotel room safes and to keep just a small amount of cash on them when out and about.
Foreign aircrew staying in Colombia have also been reminded not to go out alone at night and to avoid certain dangerous areas of major cities.
In both recent robberies, the crew members are believed to have tried to fight off their assailants before shots were fired. Other recent incidents were less serious but have still put aircrew on high alert.
Last March, a group of American Airlines pilots and flight attendants were subjected to an armed robbery on their crew minibus as they were being driven from their hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica to the airport.
One of the flight attendants had a gun pointed to his head as the other robbers demanded the traumatised crew hand over their wallets, cellphones and jewellery.
A year earlier, a Spanish aircrew had their crew minibus shot at by armed robbers as they were being driven to their layover hotel in central Caracas, Venezuela. The incident happened in the midst of civil unrest in the country and other airlines had already stopped flying to Venezuela over safety fears.
An earlier version of this story described the injured aircrew as pilots. The United Airlines pilots union has clarified that neither incident involved a United pilot.
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.