August 16, 2006

Unruly passenger forces US plane diversion

By Jason Szep

BOSTON (Reuters) - A Washington-bound United Airlines
flight from London was diverted to Boston on Wednesday after a
confrontation with an unruly passenger, transport officials

"There was an altercation with at least one female
passenger," a United Airlines spokeswoman said. A federal law
enforcement official said the woman had an anxiety attack.

"I don't believe she has any ties to terrorism," the
official said. Police said they arrested one person but
declined to say who it was.

Air passengers have been subjected to heightened security
since British authorities said last Thursday they had foiled a
plot to blow up planes from London to the United States.
British police made two dozen arrests.

U.S. Transportation and Security Administration spokeswoman
Amy Von Walter said the flight -- United 923 from London
Heathrow -- was escorted by fighter jets and landed without
incident in Boston, 450 miles from Washington.

The plane, carrying 182 passengers and 12 crew, had been
headed to Dulles airport near Washington. The captain declared
a security emergency.

"There was a supposed confrontation on board. There may
have been a banned item on board and they are now searching the
luggage," said Phil Orlandella, a spokesman at Boston's Logan
International Airport.

There was no immediate comment on media reports the woman
had Vaseline, a screwdriver, matches and a note on the Islamic
militant group al Qaeda.

Passengers on flights from Britain have been barred from
carrying gels and liquids.