Florida family in middle of Delta needles-in-food crisis



Worldly attention was not what the Drogt family of Bradenton anticipated when they returned home Sunday from a two-week family vacation to Amsterdam.

But the sewing needles two members of the Drogt family nearly bit into in turkey and cheese sandwiches served on two separate Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam is a story that is getting plenty of attention.

"What are the odds that two members of the same family on different flights would be served sandwiches with needles?" said family friend Manny Zafiros.

William Drogt, 16, who attends Bradenton’s St. Stephen’s Episcopal School and is a tennis student at IMG Academies, along with his mother, Bradenton’s Karen Drogt and his sister, IMG-Pendleton graduate Carolyn Drogt, 20, all boarded Delta Flight 175 at 9 a.m. Sunday from Amsterdam bound for Atlanta.

Meanwhile, William and Carolyn’s dad and Karen’s husband, Dr. Jack Drogt, an internationally known orthopedic surgeon, boarded Delta Flight 259 an hour later bound for Minneapolis for a work appointment.

All four were served turkey and cheese sandwiches late in their flights as part of the airlines’ pre-arrival snack, the family said.

William and Dr. Drogt got one-and-one-quarter-inch-long sewing needles imbedded in their sandwiches.

Dr. Drogt put his needle in his mouth and told family members later he pulled it out thinking it was a bone.

Dr. Drogt told his story on a morning national TV show and the rest of the family may be asked to tell theirs later this week, the family said.

A Delta spokesman told The Associated Press that needles were found on six sandwiches on four flights, two flights from Atlanta and one to Minneapolis and Seattle. Passengers found four of the needles.

Half of the those passengers were members of the Drogt family from Bradenton.

The FBI and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport have opened criminal investigations, but the U.S. Transportation Security Administration does not view the matter as a threat to national security, according to the AP.

The sandwiches were made by Gate Gourmet, one of the world’s largest airline caterers.

William is just thankful he didn’t swallow the needle in his sandwich.

"If I had swallowed it I would have been in trouble because we were still over water," William said Tuesday.

Since it was dark in the cabin and he was watching a movie when he got his sandwich, his not eating the needle or being stabbed by it borders on the miraculous, he said.

Somehow, even he doesn’t know how, he looked down and saw the black tip of something in his sandwich.

"I thought it was like the lead from a mechanical pencil," William said.

What kind of makes up for the needle is that William enjoyed several visits this week from the FBI, whose agent took the needle that the flight attendant had wrapped for William in a paper towel after he found it in his food.

"I’ve always been interested that kind of thing," William said of FBI work. "That’s a cool job."

FBI Atlanta is conducting a criminal investigation and Dutch police and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority also are investigating the incident, the paper reported.

William recalled Tuesday that the flight attendant had offered the sandwich or a salad.

"I wonder what might have been in the salad," William said.

Read more Top Stories stories from the Miami Herald

  • Florida Keys

    Scientists probe secrets of Dry Tortugas

    Scientists embark on NOAA research cruise to Dry Tortugas in Florida Keys

FILE--Nubia Barahona, 10, was found dead in the back of her adoptive father's pick-up truck in West Palm Beach on Valentines Day 2011

    Child Welfare

    Nubia Barahona’s adoptive sister sues DCF

    The adoptive sister of Nubia Barahona, the child whose gruesome death while under the care of her adoptive father and mother shook Florida a few years ago, filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Florida Department of Children & Families, a child welfare worker, and two former DCF investigators.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson is sponsoring an effort to expand the county’s anti-discrimination law to include transgender protections.

    Miami-Dade County

    Transgender protections come before Miami-Dade commission — again

    Two Miami-Dade commissioners will attempt for the second time to add transgender protections Tuesday to a county law that bans discrimination in government employment and the delivery of public services.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category