Possible Bullet Hole Found in US Airways Plane
A small hole found in a US Airways airplane at the airport in Charlotte, N.C. is being examined by FBI investigators, trying to determine if it was caused by a bullet.
The hole was discovered on the plane at Charlotte Douglas International Airport after the 84 passengers disembarked a flight from Philadelphia earlier this week.
The pilot for the next flight was doing his pre-flight inspection when he spotted the hole.
CNN is reporting government sources as saying a bullet pierced the Boeing 737-400 fuselage just above a passenger window and that a bullet had been recovered.
Several news sources are also reporting the plane was hit by a bullet as it landed at the Charlotte airport. But the FBI is not yet confirming this.
"There is a hole in the plane and we are doing everything we can to figure out how it got there, and that may take a little while," spokeswoman Amy Thoreson of the Charlotte FBI office tells AOL Travel News.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is cooperating in the investigation, a spokesman tells AOL Travel News.
Other possible causes for holes to occur in planes include metal fatigue and lightning.
Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman for US Airways Group Inc., tells the Associated Press the airline called the FBI about the hole because "it looked like it could have been" a bullet hole.
"It's very small," she said. "This pilot has a heck of an eye."
Meanwhile, even before this incident, the Charlotte airport had raised a red flag for U.S. Representative William Keating (D-Mass.), who has expressed concerns about perimeter security at the nation's airports.
Keating, a member of the Homeland Security Oversight Subcommittee, says he will be holding a hearing tomorrow that will address what he calls an "alarming" number of incidents where security has been lax in and around airport runways.
The freshman congressman has been speaking out on perimeter security since December when a 16-year-old is believed to have sneaked past security at the Charlotte airport and stuffed himself into a left wheel of a 737. His badly-mangled body landed on a street in a Boston suburb on the flight path to Logan Airport.
There was also a security breach at the Charlotte airport last month, after an airline worker who had forgotten his security badge scaled a fence to get onto the tarmac.
"I can't get into details, but what's happening at the airports when it comes to perimeter security should make us nervous. There have been a series of incidents that I am very concerned about," Keating tells AOL Travel News.
Keating has also expressed his concerns with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "I am hoping for a greater sense of urgency," he says.
(Michele McPhee contributed to this report.)
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