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p0689 BC-PlaneDamaged 01-03 0224

Saturday, January 4, 2003

Mechanic allegedly damages passenger plane

DENVER -- A Frontier Airlines mechanic was arrested after he allegedly threw a wheel block into the running engine of a plane preparing for takeoff.

According to an arrest affidavit, Corydon Van Dyke Cochran had wanted to prevent the plane from departing because he feared it was unsafe after being hit by lightning on an earlier flight.

Federal agents arrested Cochran, 44, after the incident Wednesday; he was charged with destruction of an aircraft, said FBI spokeswoman Ann Atanasio.

Cochran was released Thursday on his own recognizance. It was not clear if he has hired an attorney.

Cochran told other workers that the Frontier Airlines plane, scheduled to fly to Dallas, needed a lightning strike inspection because it had been struck Tuesday en route to Tampa, Fla.

The charge carries up to 20 years in prison or a $250,000 fine, but the affidavit says officials won't seek prison time.

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