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Passenger’s implant claim triggers flight diversion

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Posted at 5:00 PM, May 22, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-22 17:12:19-04

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) – A passenger who claimed to have a device surgically implanted inside her triggered the security scare that led to the diversion of a North Carolina-bound jetliner Tuesday, federal officials said.

Doctors aboard examined the woman and saw no sign of recent scars, according to the office of Rep. Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. And a senior federal law enforcement official told CNN that authorities have determined that no bomb was involved in the incident.

US Airways Flight 787 landed in Bangor, Maine, around noon Tuesday after the incident. The Paris-to-Charlotte flight carried 179 passengers and a crew of nine, airline spokeswoman Liz Landau told CNN.

The senior federal official said the passenger handed a note to the flight crew indicating that she had had a device implanted in her body, but did not indicate the device was a threat or that she was threatening the flight.

And a federal law enforcement source who had been briefed on the matter said there was “basically no threat.” The woman is being questioned and will likely undergo a psychological evaluation, the source said.

Nevertheless, the Boeing 767 was diverted to Bangor “out of an abundance of caution,” the Transportation Security Administration said. The jetliner was escorted into Bangor by a pair of F-15 fighter jets dispatched by the North American Aerospace Defense Command from an Air National Guard base in Massachusetts, said Lt. Col. Mike Humphreys, a NORAD spokesman.

King’s office said the woman is a Cameroon-born French citizen who was headed to the United States for a 10-day visit. She was traveling alone and had no checked baggage.

There was no indication she was on any kind of government watch list, the federal law enforcement source said.

CNN’s Terry Frieden, Deirdre Walsh, Deborah Feyerick, Chuck Johnston, Bill Mears and Aaron Cooper contributed to this report.