According to very recent media reports, three passengers who exhibited “suspicious behavior” were taken into custody on a flight from Denver to Detroit that originated in San Diego. Flight 623 of Frontier Airlines was followed by F-16 jet fighters that had been scrambled after its crew reported that several people on board were “spending an extraordinarily long time in the lavatory.”
The three were led off the airliner in handcuffs but were later released with no charges.
Here are the sources (I’ve added a couple of the links but two)
The Denver Post reported that the airliner:
“was followed by F-16 fighters and then met by police and bomb-sniffing dogs this afternoon after two people stayed too long in an airplane lavatory.
Nothing was found, but three people were taken into custody for questioning and, eventually, the other 113 passengers aboard Frontier Flight 623 were able to collect their carry-on bags during a day of high anxiety over the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
None of the three had been arrested, according to TSA.
The flight from Denver International Airport to Metropolitan Wayne County Airport was directed to a remote part of the airfield to be evacuated and searched by dogs for explosives, authorities said.
“These cops come in SWAT gear and machine guns, and they made us put our hands on the head rest in front (of each passenger) and they went through and arrested three different people,” passenger Tim Taggart of Denver told 9News.
Frontier issued a written statement saying the two people were “spending an extraordinarily long time in the lavatory,” and referred all other questions to law enforcement agencies.
Spokespeople for the airport and the Transportation Security Administration did not say how long was too long.
TSA issued a statement that the reaction the incident was “out of an abundance of caution.”
The people detained have not been named, and it is not clear whether they boarded in Denver or in San Diego, where the flight originated this morning.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command, based at Peterson Air Force Base in El Paso County, had scrambled two F-16 jets to shadow the flight until it landed.
NORAD spokesman John Cornelio said that for “operational security reasons” he could not say where the F-16s were scrambled or how many were on duty Sunday.
Three passengers detained in Detroit after flight from Denver
DETROIT | Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:45pm EDT
(Reuters) – Three passengers aboard a Frontier Airlines flight from Denver to Detroit were taken off the airplane and interviewed by federal law enforcement officers when the jet landed on Sunday after fellow passengers reported suspicious behavior.
Peter Kowalchuk, a spokesman for the airline, said the passengers “were observed behaving suspiciously” on Frontier flight 623, which originated in San Diego.
The FBI, Transportation Security Administration and local police were notified and when the Airbus A318 landed in Detroit at about 3:30 local time, it was sent to a holding pad some distance from the concourse where the luggage of the 118 passengers aboard it was removed and sniffed by police dogs.
Sandra Berchtold, a spokesswoman for the FBI in Detroit, said the three passengers were being interviewed and were not under arrest.
(Writing by James B. Kelleher; Editing by David Bailey)
Frontier Flight 623, with 116 passengers on board, landed without incident in Detroit after the crew reported that two people were spending “an extraordinarily long time” in a bathroom, Frontier spokesman Peter Kowalchuck said.
Flight 623 originated in San Diego before stopping at Denver International Airport on its way to Detroit. The FBI said that the North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled F-16 fighter jets to shadow the plane “out of an abundance of caution.”
— A similar scenario played out on a plane headed to Detroit from Denver. Police detained three passengers at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport after the crew of the Frontier Airlines flight reported suspicious activity on board and NORAD sent two F-16 jets to shadow the flight until it landed safely, the airline and federal officials said. The crew of Frontier Flight 623 reported that two people were spending “an extraordinarily long time” in a bathroom, Frontier spokesman Peter Kowalchuck said. Again, the FBI said the jets shadowed the plane “out of an abundance of caution.” The three passengers who were taken off the plane in handcuffs were released Sunday night, and no charges were filed against them, airport spokesman Scott Wintner said.