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Federal Air Marshal Mistakenly Arrested After Being Confused for Passenger With a Gun

Travel + Leisure logo Travel + Leisure 8/23/2018 Andrea Romano
a large passenger jet sitting on top of a tarmac at an airport © Getty Images

A miscommunication led to an arrest of a federal air marshal aboard a United Airlines flight from Newark to Minneapolis on Monday.

According to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, the officer was flying business class from Newark Liberty International Airport to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport when he mistakenly showed his gun, which was spotted by a flight attendant on the aircraft.

The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration told The New York Post that the man was on “official business,” but did not elaborate further.

TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said to the Pioneer Press that the flight attendant immediately notified the police at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, where the marshal and another man were immediately taken in for questioning by the FBI before the plane arrived at the gate.

“The doors opened and the police boarded the airplane, there was about four of them,” passenger Jennifer Bergman told local CBS station WCCO. “They stopped in first class, pointed to two gentleman on each side of the aisles and asked them to go with them. The men, without incident, got up and left the plane.”

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The flight attendant was unaware the man was a federal marshal, though crews are generally given this information prior to take off, according to Koshetz.

The men were immediately released after questioning, according to the Pioneer Press. Despite the mishap, there was no apparent danger to the public.

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