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Delta flight declared safe, but mystery about objects lingers

July 13, 2012|By Tina Susman
  • A Delta Airlines jet at takeoff from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport.
A Delta Airlines jet at takeoff from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport. (Jean-Pierre Muller / AFP…)

An "abundance of caution" prompted the turnaround of a Delta flight back to New York late Thursday after someone discovered strange objects in one of the jet's bathrooms, the airline said, but investigators determined there were no explosives or threatening devices on the plane.

Flight 126, which Delta said was carrying 206 passengers, arrived back at John F. Kennedy Airport around 9:30 p.m., more than an hour into its flight to Madrid, and sat on the tarmac amid a blaze of flashing lights from surrounding emergency vehicles. Passengers were evacuated but, according to flightaware.com, they were back in the air shortly after 4 a.m. for the flight to Spain.

A search of the jet turned up no bombs, but the origin of the objects that prompted the scare -- drinking straws that appeared to have wires protruding from them -- had not been explained as of early Friday. A passenger discovered them in an airplane bathroom and alerted an air marshal on board, who decided the objects were suspicious enough to warrant an emergency landing back at JFK.

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne told the Daily News that there were two straws: one on a toilet and one in the bathroom sink.

"It was determined that these wires were not part of the plane," he said, according to the Daily News. Browne said sometimes people who wanted to smoke would disconnect the smoke detectors in airplane bathrooms but in this case, "that has been ruled out."

The Transportation Security Administration said a sweep of the jet had "negative results."

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tina.susman@latimes.com

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