- Last Updated: 1:06 AM, May 23, 2012
- Posted: 1:06 AM, May 23, 2012
WASHINGTON — A French woman forced a transatlantic flight from Paris to North Carolina to be diverted to Maine yesterday by claiming she had a “surgically implanted device,” authorities said.
The US Airways jet with 179 passengers and crew on board landed safely in Bangor, Maine, where the woman was taken into custody by the FBI before the Boeing 767 continued on to Charlotte, NC.
The passenger “handed a note to a flight attendant that said she had a surgically implanted device inside her,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-LI) said in a statement.
Describing the woman as Cameroon-born, traveling alone with no checked bags and visiting the United States for 10 days, King said he was told that “doctors on the flight checked her out and did not see any sign of recent scars.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, received a phone briefing from Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole and gave similar details.
“We have seen intelligence identifying surgically implanted bombs as a threat to air travel,” Collins added.
But a federal official said the suspect was unlikely to be part of a broader international terror plot linked to groups such as al Qaeda.
“It doesn’t appear to be any terrorist nexus at this point,” said the official, who confirmed the woman involved was a French national.
In an earlier written statement, US Airways only said that a passenger had “exhibited suspicious behavior during flight” from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.
“Out of an abundance of caution the flight was diverted” and “met by law enforcement.”