Paris-to-Atlanta flight diverted after passenger said he had a bomb

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff writer
Tuesday, April 27, 2010; 6:32 PM

A Delta Air Lines flight from Paris to Atlanta was diverted and landed in Maine on Tuesday after an agitated passenger told a flight attendant he had a bomb in his luggage, U.S. law enforcement officials said, citing preliminary reports.

The passenger -- identified by authorities as Derek Stansberry of Florida -- was restrained during the flight, and Delta Flight 273 from Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport landed safely in Bangor shortly after 3:30 p.m.

FBI and TSA agents were interviewing the passengers. The plane, parked at a remote location away from the gate, was being swept by agents and dog teams for explosives. No explosives have been found, two law enforcement officials said.

The passenger was a U.S. citizen in his 20s, Caucasian, with no apparent criminal record, the officials said. He claimed to have a bomb and said he had a fake passport, according to initial reports.

The flight, an Airbus 330, departed Charles de Gaulle at 1:39 p.m. Paris time and was scheduled to arrive in Atlanta at 5:25 p.m., according to Delta's Web site.

"Federal Air Marshals responded to a passenger causing a disturbance on board the aircraft," the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement, adding that the flight was diverted "out of an abundance of caution."

An FAA official said unlike after recent bomb scares aboard airliners in December and last month, authorities did not notify all other commercial flights aloft because a bulletin "was not warranted."

The U.S. military's North American Aerospace Defense Command also did not scramble fighter jets to intercept the flight, NORAD said in a written statement, "as it was determined that the passenger was under the control of the Federal Air Marshal team on board the aircraft."

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