An eagle-eyed Air Force sergeant spotted a fuel leak on a jetliner just before it was about to head out over the Pacific Ocean toward Japan, but the flight attendant he first told dismissed his concerns.
Staff Sgt. Bartek Bachleda, a passenger on the recent flight, noticed the leak on takeoff from Chicago to Narita airport in Japan, according to a report on the Air Force's official Web site. To be sure it was a leak, he watched it and even shot video of it.
After being brushed off the first time, Bachleda, who knows a bit about fuel because he's an air refueling boom operator, finally said to the flight attendant, "Ma'am it's an emergency." He told her who he was and showed her the video.
The pilot, who already was trying to figure out how the plane was losing 6,000 pounds of fuel an hour, came back to Bachleda, looked out his window and watched the video.
He then decided to land the plane, which was carrying 300 people, in San Francisco.