One of the airline passengers who bit into a sandwich containing a one-inch needle earlier this week has now been put on antiretroviral drugs used for the treatment of HIV, and says the FBI is investigating the incidents aboard four Delta Air Lines flights as a criminal case.
Related Article: Needles Found In Sandwiches Served On Four Delta Flights
James Tonges said he was placed on the drug Truvada, which has recently been approved by the FDA, following the incident aboard a Delta flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis-St. Paul. Half a dozen sewing needles have now been found in sandwiches on four separate Delta flights, and Tonges, who was sitting in his flight’s business elite cabin, was unfortunate to have bitten into one of them.
“It was on the second bite into the sandwich, it actually poked the top of my mouth. It was about one inch long, straight needle,” Tonges told “Good Morning America.” “Since it punctured the top of my mouth, I had to be put on medication, and we’re waiting to see if there’s any type of substance on the needle. They’re doing their examination right now.”
Tonges and another passenger sustained minor injuries after biting into the sandwiches and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials found a third needle after confiscating the sandwiches, according to an official report. Dr. Jack A. Drogt, a passenger Tonges had coincidentally met aboard his flight over to Europe, also found a needle in his sandwich.
Drogt also told “Good Morning America” Tuesday that his teenage son, who was traveling from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on a different flight, was also a victim, and authorities are investigating.
“That was the uncanny thing,” Drogt said. “When I landed I spoke to the FBI, then I called my wife to let her know what had happened. She said something happened to our son on a parallel flight from Amsterdam to Atlanta.”
The teen would not surrender the needle to authorities, who noted he told them that he planned to use it as evidence in a lawsuit.
The sandwiches were prepared in kitchen of the gate gourmet catering company at Schiphol airport. All such sandwiches have now been removed from flights and replaced with pizzas.
Gate Gourmet operates in 28 countries and serves of an average 9,700 flights every day of the year — and over 300 million passengers annually.