MINNEAPOLIS - Twin Cities executive Jim Tonjes of Plymouth got a firsthand lesson in crime in the air on Sunday. Someone tampered with the turkey sandwich that Tonjes was served on a Delta Air Lines flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis.
"I mean it is scary," said Tonjes. "You do not know why someone would do that and it is like the FBI was saying, they are trying to figure out whether it was a disgruntled employee [of the catering company]."
Tonjes flight left Amsterdam at 10:25 a.m., Sunday. "And we were supposed to land in Minneapolis about 12 noon." It was just an hour or so short of landing that the snack was served, including the turkey sandwiches.
Tonjes said he was in seat 3H. Another passenger across the aisle in 4B, also in business class also had a needle in his sandwich. Tonjes said the flight's purser reacted quickly.
"They stopped all the other flights from serving the sandwiches and then they found on the flights to Seattle, Boston and Atlanta that those also had needles in the sandwiches," said Tonjes.
A ten million mile frequent flier, Tonjes said he knew to remain calm. "Traveling as much as I have, you learn there is no use to getting excited. Just take it like it is and we will deal with it."
Tonjes, who is director of global engineering for a multi-national Minnesota company, has more watching and waiting to do since the needle punctured the roof of his mouth.
"I was seen at Methodist Hospital," Tonjes told KARE 11. "I was there about three hours and they immediately determined that is a puncture wound. So, they called in the infectious disease doctor and they have got me on treatment, just as if they would be treating one of their staff or a police officer that has got a needle prick from a drug needle.
"They just put me on a brand new drug," Tonjes continued. "It was just approved Monday by the FDA. It is Truvada. So, they are concerned about hepatitis, HIV, viral disease, that type of thing. So, they are going to monitor me over the next 30-60-90 days."
The TSA issued a statement Tuesday saying, "TSA immediately notified all U.S. air carriers with flights from [Amsterdam Airport] Schiphol to ensure awareness... At this time, TSA does not believe this represents a threat to national security. This is an ongoing investigation."
Gate Gourmet, the catering firm for the flight issued the following statement: "We take this matter very seriously... and we are treating this as a criminal act. Nothing is more important to Gate Gourmet than the safety and well-being of the traveling public."
Tonjes said the FBI has have the names of all the catering employees with access to the Delta flights food.
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