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Passenger released after security incident on plane landing at LaGuardia Airport

FDNY firetrucks on standby as a plane lands

FDNY firetrucks on standby as a plane lands safely at LaGuardia Airport after security incident on Saturday afternoon. Credit: Neil Miller

An airline passenger detained by authorities Saturday after the plane made an emergency landing at LaGuardia Airport was released without charges, an official said Sunday.

Law enforcement detained and interviewed the passenger, flagged by other passengers for allegedly acting suspiciously and erratically aboard American Airlines Flight 4817 from Indianapolis to New York City, according to a statement from the Port Authority.

The FBI, its Joint Terrorism Task Force or JTTF, and the Port Authority Police Department "determined that there was no criminality and the passenger was released," said Thomas Topousis, a Port Authority spokesman.

Topousis did not explain exactly what the passenger allegedly did to rouse the attention of his fellow passengers, but said "the passenger who was detained did not make any verbal threats and was not observed holding a suspicious item."

The plane had departed Indianapolis at 1:07 p.m. Saturday and was nearing its destination into LaGuardia Airport when the passenger’s behavior prompted an emergency landing, a spokeswoman for Republic Airways said.

The plane landed safely at 3:03 p.m.

"Our crew responded to the situation in accordance with our procedures and with professionalism and a concern for safety of all aboard," said a statement released by Republic Airways. "Law enforcement and first responders met the aircraft and the passenger involved in the incident has been taken into custody. We apologize to our passengers for this disruption to their travels."

In an email, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said "nothing harmful was on the aircraft."

The FDNY also responded to the incident.

With Nicole Fuller and AP

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