American jet diverted after bomb threat


A bomb threat forced an American Eagle commuter jet from New York to be diverted to Dulles International Airport near Washington yesterday.

Flight 4959 from LaGuardia Airport was diverted after a passenger passed a note to a flight attendant saying there was a bomb aboard the plane, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration said.

Nobody was harmed in the incident and the passenger was in custody, an FBI official said.

"There was no indication that this incident was terrorism-related and was nothing more than the unreasonable demands of a disturbed passenger," Assistant Director Mr Michael Mason said.

Mr Mason said the passenger had demanded to be flown to Australia.

The plane had been set to land at Reagan National Airport, close to the U.S. capital, but was diverted to Dulles about 30 miles away, where it landed around 5 p.m. (Irish time).

American Eagle is a subsidiary of AMR Corp, which is also the parent of American Airlines.

Transportation Security Administration spokesman Mr Nico Melendez declined to provide the passenger's name or say if he was a US citizen.

Mr Melendez said he did not know how close the plane was to Reagan National, which is a short distance from the White House and Capitol, when the flight attendant received the note.

 "I just know it was in flight," he said.

 The regional Embraer 135 jet carried 19 passengers and a crew of five.

US authorities reduced the security threat level on Friday to "elevated" from "high," but said airlines were still at risk.