HOUSTON (FOX 26) — United Airlines Flight 590 from Fort Myers to Houston on Monday evening was just preparing to land when Ann Margaret Dudley and a few other other passengers discovered a knife lying on the floor of the airplane.
"A gentleman was coming back from the bathroom and he dropped something," said Dudley. "I heard it as kind of like a thump as it fell to the bottom of the aircraft floor."
Dudley also said the pocket knife was the size of her hand. She said she was scared and decided to pick up the knife and put it away in her bag until they could report it to flight attendants when they landed.
"We were all pretty dumbfounded," added Dudley. "We didn't know exactly what to do at that moment because we were mid-air so we all said, 'Let's wait.'"
"I knew it was a knife because we opened it and then we couldn't get it closed, so we hid it in my bag," described Dudley. She explained that the blade was so sharp, it cut a hole in her tote bag and knicked her finger in the process.
When the flight landed, Dudley said she and the other passengers alerted United representatives who confiscated the knife, did a security sweep of the plane and asked her and the witnesses several questions. But they weren't the questions that they were expecting.
"They said, 'Are you going to post this on social media?' And I didn't really respond because I just wanted to go home at that point," said Dudley, adding that the airlines offered her a $100 voucher for reporting the incident.
Dudley said the airline's response was underwhelming and the burning question of "How did this knife get on board?" was never answered.
"It's obviously a mark on security," said Dudley. "I mean, I don't see how this could've slipped through security."
A spokesperson with the TSA responded to the incident with the following statement:
TSA takes this report seriously and is gathering more details. TSA employs multiple layers of security to protect the traveling public. For example, on board aircraft, these layers include reinforced cockpit doors, federal air marshals, federal flight deck officers and a vigilant traveling public. While many sharp objects remain prohibited, they are unlikely to cause catastrophic damage on an aircraft. We continue to take the discovery of knives and other prohibited items seriously; however, in today's post-9/11 security environment, intelligence tells us our officers’ greatest focus should remain on the biggest threat to aviation today -- explosives and explosives components.
United Airlines also responded with the following statement:
The safety and security of our customers is our top priority. We are investigating this incident and working with the Transportation Security Administration and our team to better understand what happened.