Fighter Jets Scrambled to Escort Diverted US Flight

Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 3:25 pm (UTC-5)
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A U.S. airline flight from Paris to Charlotte, North Carolina has been diverted to the northeastern U.S. state of Maine, because of what an airline spokesman called a “security issue.”

The North American Aerospace Defense Command says two F-15 fighter jets were scrambled Tuesday from an air base in the neighboring state of Massachusetts. They escorted U.S. Airways Flight 787 to a safe landing in Bangor, Maine.

The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration said there had been reports of a female passenger acting suspiciously. In a statement, the TSA said the plane was diverted “out of an abundance of caution” and was met at the airport by law enforcement officials. A follow-up statement says the woman is being interviewed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

It said the rest of the passengers will re-board the plane and continue to Charlotte.

News reports say the passenger in question is a French citizen, born in Cameroon, who claimed to have a surgically implanted device. Representative Peter King, chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, told CNN that the woman was examined by doctors and found to have no recent scars.

Reports say she had not checked any baggage.

U.S. Airways says the Boeing 767 was carrying 179 passengers and nine crew members.

Because of its location, the Bangor, Maine, airport is often used to divert flights entering or leaving U.S. airspace.