United Airlines canceled its 9:25 AM flight from Edinburgh to Newark on Saturday after Scottish police discovered a taser in one of the pilots’ carry-on. The pilot was arrested and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.
The taser was discovered during a routine security check. According to a witness, the 56-year-old pilot was escorted by “four armed police.”
So what’s a taser? A taser refers to an electroshock weapon used to disrupt voluntary control of muscles. Its name came from a company that developed the electroshock weapon, formerly known as Taser International and now called Axon.
Nowadays, “Taser” is the general term used to describe electroshock weapons, regardless of the brand. These devices usually shoot electrodes that are attached to wires. It then shocks the target leaving him or her temporarily incapacitated.
While tasers are non-lethal, these devices are considered firearms in the United Kingdom. This means that the pilot could potentially face a lengthy jail sentence if found guilty.
The arrest disrupted the airline’s flight schedule. It left a lot of passengers who were hoping to fly to New Jersey disappointed. It is unclear how many passengers were affected by the cancellation. However, the scheduled Boeing 757 can accommodate roughly 170 passengers.
United Airlines confirmed in a statement that the pilot had been “removed from service.” The airline said, “This employee was immediately removed from service and we are fully cooperating with local authorities.”
Scotland Police confirmed that a report of the incident will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal, or the country’s public prosecutor’s office. The accused pilot is scheduled to appear in Edinburgh Sheriff Court by Monday.
Edinburgh Airport spokesperson said, “We are aware an arrest on Saturday was made in connection with a firearms offence.”
However, this taser incident isn’t the first time that a United Airlines pilot got arrested in Scotland. In 2019, a United Airlines pilot was arrested for being drunk.