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US Airways flight diverted to Maine

The Associated Press

BANGOR, Maine -- The woman whose claim of having a surgically implanted device inside her forced the diverting of a US Airways flight from France to a landing in Maine is not listed on terrorist watch lists or law enforcement databases, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said.

King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the woman, a French citizen born in Cameroon, was traveling alone without any checked baggage and intended to stay in the United States for 10 days. Her name has been "checked through all of the databases," he said.

The Boeing 767, bound for Charlotte, N.C., landed Tuesday at Bangor and the woman was examined, but, according to a federal law enforcement official, she will not be charged by the Justice Department.

The woman handed a note to a flight attendant mentioning that she had a surgically implanted device, prompting concerns about possible terrorism.

Two doctors on the plane examined her and found that she had no scars or incisions, said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who was briefed by Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole.

There is no evidence the plane was ever in danger, officials said. The FBI and Homeland Security Department warned airlines last summer that terrorists are considering surgically hiding bombs inside humans to evade security.

Several passengers said they'd noticed that passenger because of her slight stature and big eyelashes. They said she attracted attention by walking up and down the aisle throughout the flight.

"We saw lots of police and federal customs people take a woman off the plane in handcuffs," said Stuart Frankel of Baltimore. "People were amazed at what was going on. We didn't know what was happening until we landed."

Two F-15 fighters scrambled to escort Flight 787 with 179 passengers and nine crew members to Bangor International Airport, where it landed just after noon.

Greg Comcowich, an FBI spokesman in Boston, said the agency wouldn't confirm the status nor release the identity of the passenger who caused the flight to be diverted.

With Bloomberg News


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