March 1, 2013 / 7:11 PM / 7 years ago

FAA looking into safety of sky-high Harlem Shake dance

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A sky-high video of the Internet dance craze Harlem Shake that went viral on YouTube has captured the attention of aviation officials who said on Friday they are looking into the event over safety concerns.

A Frontier Airlines jet waits at the gate prior to departure at the Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado, February 4, 2012. REUTERS/Nathan Armes

In the video called, “Harlem Shake Frontier Flight 157,” members of the ultimate Frisbee team from Colorado College and other passengers are shown frenetically dancing in the aisle and in front of seats last month on the packed Frontier Airlines flight from Colorado Springs to San Diego, California.

“If we find any evidence of a violation of Federal Aviation Regulations, then we would pursue it,” FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said in an email.

The song-and-dance craze typically begins with one dancer who is quickly joined by others, some of whom are in costume.

Frontier Airlines defended its decision to allow the college students to dance on board the flight thousands of feet over the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

“We have a policy not to comment on things that are under investigation by the FAA, but I can tell you that all safety measures were followed and the seatbelt sign was off,” Frontier Airlines spokeswoman Kate O’Malley said in an email.

Frontier crew members had taped their own version of the dance a few weeks earlier, though on firmer ground inside an air terminal.

The college students said they had come up with the idea a few days before the flight. They had asked the flight staff for permission before beginning the dance and were shown how to use the public address system.

“When we got to the airport we were kind of ready and had brought costumes and stuff,” Matt Zelin, a sophomore at the college, told the college newspaper, The Catalyst.

“Obviously I hope that this whole situation is solved with the FAA ...,” Zelin added. “I don’t see there being any reason why this should cause any trouble. We asked the staff and they said it was safe.”

The video, which had been viewed more than 732,000 times by early Friday afternoon, can be seen here

Reporting by Noreen O'Donnell; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Eric Walsh

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