Updated: Gun that discharged on US Airways flight may have been mishandled

The pilot of a US Airways plane may have mishandled a firearm that went off in flight, piercing a hole in the cockpit wall. That's according to a federal air marshal and gun safety expert.

Greg Alter of the Federal Air Marshal Service says the gun was
extremely safe and reliable and that it's not going to go off on
its own.

The .40 caliber semiautomatic H&K USP discharged Saturday aboard
Flight 1536 from Denver to Charlotte, as the plane with 124
passengers and five crew members was approaching to land. Photos
obtained by The Associated Press show a small entry hole in the
lower side of the cockpit wall and a small exit hole on the
exterior below the cockpit window.

Gun safety expert Ronald Scott, a ballistics expert who served
for 25 years with the Massachusetts State Police, said the gun
wouldn't discharge accidentally if dropped or jarred in someway. He
says it's not the type of gun that would go off by itself.

Original Story:

Photos show that a shot fired from a US Airways pilot's pistol blasted a small hole through the cockpit wall of a plane that landed in North Carolina.

The photos obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press show a small
entry hole in the lower side of the cockpit wall and a small exit hole on the exterior below the cockpit window.

The AP described the photos and the bullet hole to US Airways
spokesman Phil Gee, who said "they sound authentic."

Airline officials have said the accidental discharge Saturday aboard Flight 1536 from Denver to Charlotte did not endanger those on board.

Gee says the pilot has been taken off duty during the investigation by the Transportation Security Administration.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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