SOURCE: NBC 6- A man with a fully loaded gun got on a commercial flight was able to fly to Miami, the NBC 6 Investigators exclusively discovered — a hair-raising incident that caused the TSA to immediately trigger a probe into the security lapse that aviation experts say could have caused a disaster.
In a video the NBC 6 Investigators exclusively obtained, airline passenger Cameron Hinds is stopped at a Miami International Airport checkpoint and Miami-Dade Police take him into custody. The TSA officers found a loaded handgun in his belongings. But it’s what happened prior to the MIA checkpoint that sent the federal government’s security experts into high alert.
Hinds got onto a flight coming from outside the U.S. —a situation where the TSA and airlines rely on foreign governments to run security. Hinds made his journey from Bridgetown, Barbados, to Miami on American Airlines flight 1089. During the flight, police say his Ruger revolver was with him in the cabin on the four-hour trip.
“Hind’s revolver had five 32-caliber rounds in the chamber,” said the Miami-Dade Police report, and he told them, “when he boarded the plane in Barbados, he had the revolver in his pants pocket.”
“It’s shocking. That’s what it is,” said retired American Airlines Captain Jay Rollins.
What Hinds was able to do runs against everything that was done to protect America after 9/11, Rollins said.
“That’s what the whole thing is set up for, to catch guns. Not only a gun, but a loaded gun,” Rollins said. “Obviously, a weapon in the cockpit or in the airplane anywhere is a grave danger to everyone on board … It could have been used for far worse, as 9/11 teaches us. And in terms of the aircraft, even if it went off accidentally, there are so many things it could hit. Some of them could disable the aircraft.”
The TSA notified Barbados of Hind’s ability to carry his gun on the flight, which took off from Grantley Adams International.
“We understand the danger in allowing things like this to happen. Sadly, this is one of those unfortunate situations,” said Neval Greenidge, Barbados’ top official in Miami. “We take it extremely seriously and we have been working and investigating this matter since we received the report from here in Miami.”
“The gentleman was searched. He was patted down. He was scanned, but the firearm seemed to have been under a laptop and I think that’s where the blunder came because the officer who would have been reviewing his bag or checking the luggage should have taken the laptop out, or had him take the laptop out which is customary for the TSA,” Greenidge said.
Greenidge says screeners are being retrained. “All steps are being taken to make sure there is no repeat,” he told NBC 6.
Security experts say there’s always a concern Latin America and the Caribbean could be a launching point for those looking to do harm in the U.S. and that’s one of the reasons why what happened on this flight is so troubling.
The TSA partners with foreign nations to aid them with screening passengers. Within the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the TSA had improved but still could do more when it comes to testing how often screeners make mistakes.
Hinds was taken to Miami-Dade jail and charged with carrying a concealed weapon — a felony.
American Airlines sent us a statement saying, “The safety and security of our team members and customers is our top priority. We are aware of this incident and have worked closely with law enforcement on their investigation.”
Hinds entered a not guilty plea to the charge and his case is scheduled for a court hearing Friday. NBC 6 Investigators attempted to contact him but his phone wasn’t working.