Port Authority: Man charged with making terrorist threat
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A Rockland County man was arrested Monday after he was removed from a Florida-bound flight just before takeoff at LaGuardia Airport because he made a terrorist threat, authorities said.
Samuel Aristil, 30, of Spring Valley, allegedly refused to turn off his cellphone on board Spirit Flight 197 to Fort Lauderdale and made comments that were "deemed threatening," Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico said.
The Queens district attorney's office could not immediately provide arraignment information.
The flight, an Airbus A320, was scheduled to depart at 10:50 a.m. It was delayed as Aristil was taken into custody, but left around noon.
The aircraft had just pushed back from its gate at LaGuardia when the incident took place, Marsico said.
Another passenger notified the flight crew, Marsico said, and the flight was held up as Port Authority police removed Aristil and his baggage from the plane.
A Spirit Airlines spokeswoman said there were 145 passengers aboard the Airbus and no one was injured.
In a statement released to Newsday, Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said: "This morning, as Spirit Flight 197 was preparing to depart LaGuardia for Fort Lauderdale, a customer would not comply with instructions to turn off his cellphone and made a threat to the flight crew. Following procedures, the crew contacted authorities and the customer is being removed from the aircraft.
"The situation is currently under the control of local Port Authority police and TSA [Transportation Security Administration]," the statement said. With John Valenti