Metro

Monday, June 13, 2005

THE REGION

Men Removed From Plane Later Cleared

A U.S. Airways flight headed from Orlando to Reagan National Airport was diverted yesterday to Jacksonville, Fla., where more than a half-dozen passengers were removed because of what was characterized as suspicious behavior. Those passengers turned out to be military personnel from the Middle East who were flying to Washington to meet with the U.S. Department of Defense, authorities said.

The men, who were in civilian clothes, were later cleared by authorities and were allowed onto another flight, law enforcement officials said.

Flight 480, with 144 passengers aboard, departed from Orlando at 1:05 p.m. and was diverted at 1:55 p.m. after members of the flight crew grew concerned that the Middle Eastern men were communicating with one another verbally and with hand gestures and had gone to bathrooms at opposite ends of the 737 plane, authorities and passengers said.

After the plane landed at the Jacksonville airport, the men were ushered off by marshals without incident, authorities and passengers said.

The other passengers eventually continued on, landing in Washington about 5:46 p.m., about 2 hours and 35 minutes late, an airline spokesman said.

Dolphin Is Aquarium's 2nd to Die in '05

The National Aquarium in Baltimore has lost its second bottlenose dolphin this year, officials said.

Raven, a 4-year-old dolphin who was born at the aquarium, became sick June 4 and died within hours of showing symptoms. A dolphin named Bob was euthanized in March.

An aquarium spokeswoman said news of Raven's death was not released earlier because the aquarium was waiting for more results from a necropsy. Spokeswoman Jennifer Fiegl said early results showed he died from a bacterial infection. The aquarium has seven dolphins that are said to be in good health.

MARYLAND

Beltway Driver Falls Asleep, Flipping Car

Traffic was slowed yesterday on the outer loop of the Capital Beltway in Maryland after authorities said a Fairfax man fell asleep at the wheel of a blue Buick. The car hit another vehicle, flipped and landed on its roof in a wooded embankment near the American Legion Memorial Bridge.

Maryland State Police identified the driver as Christopher Eequin, 20. Eequin and a passenger were taken to Suburban Hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries and released, police said. Another passenger was unharmed.


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