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A man is said to have brought a razor blade onto the plane and threatened the person sitting next to him


A Utah man was arrested after he brought a razor blade onto a plane and allegedly threatened the woman next to him with it, holding the blade close to her neck during the flight, federal authorities said.

Merrill Darrell Fackrell, 41, of Syracuse, Utah, was charged with assault and carrying a weapon on a plane after Monday’s flight from New York City to Salt Lake City, U.S. Attorneys in Utah said.

A few days before Thanksgiving, during one of the busiest flight times in the country, Fackrell boarded the JetBlue flight and settled into seat 6A with a concealed 1- to 2-inch knife, authorities said in an affidavit released on Aug It was filed Tuesday in federal court in Utah.

Authorities said it was not clear why the gun, which federal prosecutors said was a wooden-handled razor, was missed at security.

Razors are not allowed in carry-on baggage on airplanes, according to the Transportation Security Administration, and are only allowed to fly in checked baggage. The TSA did not immediately respond to an email from the Washington Post on Friday morning.

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It wasn’t the first flight this month to be disrupted by a passenger with a gun. A Frontier Airlines flight landed early on Nov. 11 after a passenger brought a box cutter onto the plane, something TSA later said happened because agents made mistakes during security screening.

And as the airline industry recovers from the impact of the peak of the pandemic — this year’s Thanksgiving travel numbers were higher than last and will likely match 2019’s — the incident added the number of allegedly unruly or threatening passengers, a phenomenon that’s growing worsened during the pandemic.

Fackrell was jailed in Utah after a judge denied his bail request on Wednesday, according to court documents. A lawyer for Fackrell did not immediately respond to a call and email from The Post on Friday morning.

During the flight, Fackrell sat in the window seat and struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to him, while her husband wore headphones in an aisle seat, according to the affidavit.

While they engaged in a “long and varied” conversation, Fackrell reportedly had several alcoholic beverages. When the woman, who has not been identified by federal authorities, put on headphones and started a movie, Fackrell allegedly continued talking to herself.

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The woman ignored him. Fackrell then allegedly put his hand in front of her screen and told her to pause the film.

She looked up to find he was holding a blade — what appeared to her like a knife — by her throat, “inches” from her skin, authorities said.

Fackrell got up and, according to the affidavit, yelled, “She’ll be fine” and “Nobody needs to worry,” and told her husband to go.

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The woman’s husband ran for help. She lunged toward the aisle when Fackrell allegedly tried to stop her. According to the affidavit, she fought him off and ran to the front of the plane.

A man sitting across the aisle, according to the affidavit, confronted Fackrell and persuaded him to put the razor blade on the plane seat. The man snatched the blade, which he also mistook for a knife, and gave it to the flight crew.

The man sat next to Fackrell for the remainder of the flight. The plane’s crew members notified authorities, and law enforcement officers met the flight in Salt Lake City, JetBlue spokesman Derek Dombrowski said in an email.

“The safety of our customers and crew members is JetBlue’s top priority and we will assist law enforcement in their investigations,” Dombrowski said.

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