Security concerns divert flight to Maine airport
BANGOR, Maine (WHDH) -- A US Airways jetliner was diverted to Maine because a passenger passed a note to a flight attendant saying she had a surgically implanted device.
The plane had taken off in Paris and was headed to Charlotte, North Carolina, but was diverted to Maine. Officials say several hours into the flight, the woman, a French citizen born in Cameroon, passed the note written in French indicating she had some kind of device implanted in her body.
There were 176 passengers and nine crew members on board the jet .
“US Airways Flight 787 diverted into Bangor at approximately 12:04 this afternoon due to some suspicious behavior by one of the passengers on board the aircraft,” said Tony Caruso, Bangor International Airport Interim Director.
After the woman passed the note, other passengers subdued her. Two doctors were called to the back of the plane and checked the woman’s body for scarring and found none, indicating there was no surgical implant. They determined she seemed mentally disturbed.
"The first officer came by, escorted her to the rear of the plane, and then there was a lot of hullabaloo about trying to determine which bags were hers," said Jack Stevens, a passenger.
One passenger told CNN the pilot announced they were diverting to Bangor for fuel, and because it was windy.
“People did not seem to be panicking. People just seemed to be kind of like, ‘This is weird, what’s going on?’ Even when the authorities got on the plane it was very quick. It was very quiet,” said Andrew Kobayashi, a passenger.
The TSA released a statement saying, “TSA was made aware of reports of a passenger who exhibited suspicious behavior during flight. Out of an abundance of caution the flight was diverted to BGR where it was met by law enforcement.”
The FBI and Homeland Security Department warned airlines last summer that terrorists are considering surgically hiding bombs inside humans.
Two F-15 fighters escorted the Boeing 767 to Bangor International Airport.
“We all work well and hand-in-hand in conjunction with each other to make sure we handle these aircraft incidents properly,” said Caruso.
With the passenger in custody, the flight was cleared to continue to Charlotte, N.C., and departed at 3:28 p.m.
The woman remains in custody and may face criminal charges.