A US Airways passenger who claimed to have a bomb device surgically implanted inside her caused Flight 787 to be diverted from North Carolina to Maine on Tuesday. Doctors aboard the diverted flight examined the woman and found no sign of recent scars.
A federal law enforcement source who had been briefed on the matter told CNN the woman would likely receive a psychological evaluation and posed “basically no threat.”
Nevertheless, the Paris-to-Charlotte flight made an unscheduled stop in Bangor “out of an abundance of caution,” the Transportation Security Administration said. U.S. fighter jets escorted the plane to the airport, and passengers said the woman was taken off the plane in handcuffs after landing.
The Boeing 767 carried 179 passengers and a crew of nine, US Airways spokeswoman Liz Landau told CNN. Andrew Kobayashi, a passenger on the flight, said the woman was sweaty and acting nervous.
“I had briefly noticed her in the back of the plane being a weirdo,” said Kobayashi, who was seated several rows further forward.
A senior federal law enforcement official told CNN that authorities have determined that no bomb was involved in the incident. The woman handed a note to the flight crew indicating that she had had a device implanted in her body, but did not say the device was a bomb or that she was threatening the flight, the official said.
While still in the air, the plane’s crew told passengers the flight was landing in Bangor because of uncharacteristically strong headwinds that that required the flight to take on more fuel, Kobayashi and other passengers said. But after the jet landed, they said one of the pilots apologized to passengers for the deception.
Kobayashi said authorities boarded the plane after landing in Bangor and handcuffed the woman, who appeared to be in her mid-20s to mid-30s.
The doctor and flight attendants helped her to the back of the plane, where she remained for several hours without incident.