Flight diverted to Phoenix after mistaken report of armed passenger - East Valley Tribune: News

Flight diverted to Phoenix after mistaken report of armed passenger

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Posted: Friday, April 18, 2003 12:03 pm | Updated: 1:05 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

PHOENIX - An American Airlines 757 en route to New York was diverted to Phoenix on Friday after a passenger mistakenly reported that someone on board had a knife, an FAA spokesman said.

American Airlines flight 242 was allowed to resume its trip from Long Beach, Calif., after authorities determined the reports of an armed passenger were untrue, said Donn Walker, an FAA spokesman in Los Angeles.

Shortly after the flight left Long Beach, a passenger told a flight attendant that she had seen two other passengers with what she believed to a knife, Walker said.

The flight attendant reported the incident to a pilot, who called the FAA to request that the plane be allowed to land at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport, Walker said.

The pilot also requested a military escort, Walker said.

Maj. Douglas Martin of the North American Aerospace Defense Command said the NORAD operation center monitored the situation but didn’t launch any fighters in response.

Walker said the plane was met at the airport by authorities who searched the two passengers who had been singled out in the report.

Neither was found to have a weapon and both were allowed to get back on the plane, which then resumed its flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport, Walker said.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach officials at American Airlines on Friday weren’t immediately successful.

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