According to a person familiar with the incidents, two American aircrew for major US-based airlines were shot in two different instances in Colombia over the course of a week while on work assignments.
The crew members were shot in the aborted heist attempts and were critically injured, but both are expected to recover fully.
One of the crew members works for United Airlines, while the other is likely to work for Delta Air Lines, according to airline source JonNYC. The armed robberies took place in the Colombian cities of Bogata and Cali during layovers.
United has sent an urgent caution to its flight crews, advising them not to resist a heist. Pilots and flight attendants have been advised to keep only a limited amount of cash on them when out and about, and to put flashy watches and other valuables in their hotel room safes.
Foreign aircrews stationed in Colombia have also been warned not to venture out alone at night and to keep away from particular risky locations in big cities.
Before guns were fired in both recent robberies, the crew members are reported to have attempted to fight off their assailants. Other recent occurrences have caused aircrews to be on high alert despite being less serious.
Last March, a group of American Airlines pilots and flight attendants were robbed while being taken from their hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica to the airport on their crew van.
While the other robbers demanded the traumatized crew hand over their wallets, telephones, and jewelry, one of the flight attendants had a revolver pointed to his head.
A year ago, armed bandits shot at a Spanish aircrew’s crew minibus as they were being taken to their layover hotel in central Caracas, Venezuela. The event occurred during the country’s civil strife, and other airlines had already stopped flying to Venezuela due to safety concerns.