NEW YORK – The “security incident” that forced a plane in New York to make an emergency landing at LaGuardia airport on Saturday turned out to be a misunderstanding – after an airline passenger confused another passenger’s camera with a bomb, sources said Sunday.
American Airlines Flight 4817 from Indianapolis – operated by Republic Airways – made an emergency landing at LaGuardia just after 3 p.m., and authorities took a suspicious passenger in custody for several hours.
It turns out that the upcoming “bomber” was just a vintage camera fan, and the woman who reported him made a mistake, sources said.
The woman was traveling with her husband and children and was sitting across the hallway from her spouse when she spotted another man in her husband’s row rolling through videos and photos of vintage cameras, sources say.
Video: Emergency personnel restrict passengers on asphalt at New York airport (Reuters)
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She thought he was looking for bomb-making instructions, and when the man pulled out his own camera and adjusted it, she was convinced he was putting a timer on a detonator, sources said.
The man traveled with two checked bags, which were taken off the plane and screened. Among various personal items were a skateboard and vintage cameras, sources said.
Port authority police officers and federal agents detained the man for several hours before giving him that clear, sources said.
“The JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force), the FBI and the Port Authority Police decided there was no crime on the part of the passenger and he was released,” said Port Authority spokesman Tom Topousis.