41ºF

FBI: Flight attendant set fire to plane's bathroom, lied about it

Johnathan Tafoya-Montano accused of lighting paper towels on fire

Joe Raedle (Getty Images)

DETROIT – An American Airlines flight attendant used a lighter to start a fire in an airplane bathroom and then pretended to discover it and put it out, according to a federal criminal complaint. 

Johnathan Tafoya-Montano is charged with destroying an aircraft/aircraft facility and making false statements in connection to the Feb. 1 incident on Flight 1418 from Dallas to Detroit. 

View the full criminal complaint below or click here.

Tafoya-Montano reported discovering the fire in a rear bathroom to the flight's captain and an emergency was reported to the FAA's control tower. The flight landed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and passengers were safely taken off the plane. 

An investigation by the FBI and Wayne County Airport Authority police determined the fire was intentionally set, and passengers on the flight told investigators that no one had been near the bathroom for at least 15 to 20 minutes before the fire started, the complaint said. 

During an interview with the FBI on Monday, Tafoya-Montano admitted that he had set the fire using paper towels and had lied about it, the complaint said. 

American Airlines released the following statement:

"We take this matter very seriously, and have been cooperating with law enforcement throughout their investigation."

The company also said Tafoya-Montano is no longer flying with them.

Johnathan Tafoya-Montano criminal complaint