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Pilot Jailed for Alleged Shoe-Bomb Remark

August 10, 2003|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — An Air France pilot was in police custody Saturday after allegedly telling an airport security screener that he had a bomb in his shoe.

Philippe Rivere, 50, was arrested Friday night at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Port Authority spokesman Tony Ciavolella said.

Rivere was charged with falsely reporting an incident and could face up to seven years in prison.

Rivere, who was to copilot a flight from JFK to Paris, was going through a security checkpoint when he allegedly said he had a bomb in his shoe, Ciavolella said.

Ciavolella would not say whether Rivere was joking, but police determined there were no explosives in his shoes.

Lauren Stover, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, told reporters the remark was "very inappropriate, whether he was joking or not."

"Terrorists are still trying to perfect a shoe bomb, and here is an employee of the aviation industry -- the very people we are trying to protect and who we are counting on to be alert in security matters -- who is making the threat," Stover said.

The TSA is the federal agency created to administer airport security after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Air France plane was searched and the flight was canceled. It was allowed to take off Saturday morning.

Rivere was in custody and awaiting arraignment.

An Air France spokesman in New York, Jim Faulkner, said the flight to Paris, with more than 300 passengers, was canceled Friday night because the airline did not have another copilot available.

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