Security scare prompts UK-US flight to divert

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Friday, August 25, 2006

American Airlines flight 55 from Manchester, England to Chicago, Illinois has been diverted due to a security alert and has landed in Bangor, Maine.

An American Airlines spokesman in London, Richard Hedges, said: "I can confirm AA flight 55 from Manchester to Chicago (was) diverted into Bangor, Maine, due to a possible security concern."

An FBI spokeswoman, Gail Marcinkiewicz, said: "We're responding to determine the cause of the diversion. It's going to take a number of hours for passengers to be interviewed. The pilot made a decision to divert the plane and we're investigating this now. We're interviewing the pilot, crew and passengers."

According to the FBI, the flight was diverted when officials "learned of a reported threat to the aircraft while it was en route," said Richard Kolko, another spokeman for the FBI.

The US Transportation Security Administration said: "Given the current threat level, the agency, in conjunction with other federal authorities, took prudent action to assure the safety of the passengers and crew. The plane has landed safely and passengers are being de-planed while TSA canines search the airplane. Responders are on the scene and the FBI will be interviewing the passengers and crew to further assess the situation."

There is no word on what caused the flight to be diverted, but Guardian Unlimited is reporting that the bomb squad has been asked to assist. There are at least 179 passengers onboard the plane.

Since August 10, when police in the UK claimed they had foiled a suspected plot to blow up several transatlantic planes, there have been several similar incidents.

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