FBI Special Agent Richard Quinn speaks during a news conference near the… (Matt Rourke / Associated…)
A security threat that forced an airliner to return to Philadelphia was a hoax, officials said on Thursday.
US Airways Flight 1267 was an hour en route to Dallas when authorities recalled the plane because of a report that a suspicious item containing liquid explosives had been placed on the airliner.
The craft, carrying 74 passengers and crew members, was returned to Philadelphia where it was searched and found to be free of any explosive material, FBI Special Agent Frank Burton Jr. said in a telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“It was a hoax,” Burton said from Philadelphia. “The report of explosive material was unfounded.”
Burton praised the response from the FBI, the Philadelphia Police Department, the airline and the Transportation Security Administration in dealing with the alert.
One passenger was taken off the plane and questioned, but he was released, a victim of the hoax, Burton said.
Philadelphia police Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan emphasized that the man had committed no wrong. "This is no joke, this is no laughing matter," he told the Associated Press, adding that the man had been the victim of "a pretty nasty trick."
The plane was cleared and resumed its flight to Dallas.
Authorities said they would continue to investigate the incident in an attempt to identify the perpetrator of the hoax. FBI Special Agent Richard Quinn told the AP that the charges against the person could be "severe."
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