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F-15s intercept US Airways flight after passenger causes problem

May 22, 2012|By Brian Bennett

WASHINGTON -- Two fighter jets were scrambled Tuesday to intercept a US Airways flight over the northern Atlantic after a passenger began acting strangely, prompting concerns for the safety of the nearly full flight.

The flight, which took off from Paris early Tuesday morning with 179 passengers and nine crew members, made an emergency landing in Bangor, Maine. It was scheduled to land in Charlotte, N.C.

A pair of F-15 fighters launched from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Mass., at 11:40 a.m., officials said. The jets met the airliner, US Airways flight 787, and escorted the plane into U.S. airspace.

Federal agents boarded the airplane when it landed at the Bangor International Airport. The plane is currently parked on an isolated part the runway.

The Transportation Security Administration "is aware of reports of a passenger who exhibited suspicious behavior during flight. Out of an abundance of caution the flight was diverted to BGR [Bangor International Airport] where it was met by law enforcement," said TSA spokeswoman Sterling Payne.

The passenger flight crossed the northern Atlantic this morning and was scheduled to fly down the northeastern coast of the United States to its final destination at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. When the crew alerted the TSA of a disturbance on board, the flight changed course, heading west into Maine and landed at the airport in Bangor.

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brian.bennett@latimes.com

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