Small-plane pilot held after threat to crash into US store

By: AFP
Published: 07:59 PM, 3 Sep, 2022
Small-plane pilot held after threat to crash into US store
Caption: US police said Saturday that the pilot of a small plane circling over Tupelo, Mississippi, has threatened to crash the aircraft into a Walmart store.
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A pilot who had threatened to crash his small plane into a Walmart store in Mississippi has landed and been taken into custody, officials said.

The plane, which had circled erratically over the city of Tupelo and a nearby area for hours, landed around 11:25 am Eastern time (1525 GMT), Connie Strickland, a dispatcher with the Benton County sheriff's office, told AFP.

Benton County is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest of Tupelo.

The authorities have not identified the pilot or released any information on possible motive.

Some six hours earlier, the pilot had called a 911 emergency operator in Tupelo, "threatening to intentionally crash into Walmart on West Main," according to a statement from the city's police department.

The sprawling department store and a neighboring gas station were evacuated, and people were warned to stay away.

The plane later appeared to leave the Tupelo area and fly to the northwest, according to the FlightAware tracking website.

Tupelo police initially warned people to stay away from the area around the Walmart store but cautioned that "with the mobility of an airplane of that type, the danger zone is much larger."

The aircraft appeared to be a King Air utility plane built by Beechcraft, with seating for seven to 11 passengers.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.