Six different passengers aboard four separate U.S.- bound Delta Air Line flights from Amsterdam found an unsavory ingredient in their sandwiches: inch-long needles.
Though some of the objects were spotted before they caused any damage, passenger James Tonges didn’t realize it until the object had already pierced the roof of his mouth.
"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," said Tonges on ABC’s 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 was given Truvada, an anti-HIV medication as a precaution.
“Immediately upon receiving notice of the first reported incident from our customer, Gate Gourmet removed all sandwiches from future flights out of Amsterdam and launched a full internal investigation,” said a statement by Gate Gourmet, the company that produced the sandwiches in question. “We are treating this matter with the utmost importance and urgency and are working closely with local and federal authorities investigating this matter.
A man Tonges met in Europe, Dr. Jack A. Drogt, was on the same flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to CNN, and he, too, found a needle in his sandwich.
Proving that real life can be stranger than fiction, upon landing and calling his wife to give her details, Drogt was surprised that she in turn had news for him: their teen son, who was also traveling from Amsterdam to Atlanta on another Delta Air Lines flight, also found a needle in his sandwich.
According to CNN, once U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discovered the two needles on Tonges' flight, they began to x-ray the food and found a third needle.
Federal air marshals present on the flights weren’t told about the needles until passengers began to deplane.
FBI officials from the Atlanta announced that a criminal investigation would be conducted to determine who is responsible for the act that now has airline passengers across the nation in a panic, and authorities on two continents scrambling for leads.
"You can't check every sandwich that goes aboard a plane," said Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent, to ABC News. "This demonstrates to people who want to do bad things … this is a gaping hole.”