New York Times, Jason Leeland
It could have been a much different story making headline news in the afternoon edition had it not been for pop-music star, Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys. An unlikely hero, you say? Indeed. The Backstreet Boys ended their Unbreakable tour last night, and were on their way home when Carter saved the lives of 284 passengers on board the Boeing 767, bound for Los Angeles this morning.
"It's not a big deal really," insists the humble hero, Carter, who reluctantly agreed to comment for this article.
Carter, 29, was on board the flight destined for his home-city, when he became suspicious of the passenger seated next to him, since identified as Rupert Cagglio, 37, of New York.
"He just seemed...nervous," said Carter, when asked why he had acted.
"He was certain," said Marble Winters, the 56 year old flight attendant Nick confided his concerns to. "And in these times, we can never be too cautious."
Upon questioning Cagglio, authorities discovered that the man was planning to hijack the plane during the six-hour flight to Los Angeles. Additionally, a bomb was found in his baggage. He is currently detained at a New York City prison, where further questioning may lead to more details about whether Cagglio was working alone.
"I can't believe Nick Carter saved my life," a 20 year old fan gushed in the lobby at LaGuardia airport. "It's...amazing. I've been a fan for ten years and I never dreamt this would happen to me."
"I really didn't save any lives," Carter insisted, when informed of his grateful fan. "I just stopped a bad thing from happening."
This encounter occurs after several months of slackened security, following a drop in hijacking incidents in the United States. Some passengers fear that the security measures have dropped since their peak following the September 11 incident and worry that we may be getting too comfortable once more. "I mean a Backstreet Boy picked up on suspicious behavior before security personnel or flight attendants? Shouldn't spotting suspicious behavior be part of the point of check points?" asked a nervous mother, whose 12 year old son was accompanying her on the flight.
Carter encourages readers to follow their instincts. "You never know who could be sitting next to you," he said, "I mean we're only given a certain amount of time and its important to use it well."
More on this story will be included in the morning edition, including a full-length interview with Carter.