BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A woman on a plane caused a bomb scare after telling flight attendants she had a surgically implanted device. A Baltimore man on the flight shares new details about the response.
Adam May has the latest on the investigation.
The woman will not face criminal charges because she apparently has mental health issues. Regardless, this turned out to be a real test for an emerging threat.
There were tense moments when an US Airways plane makes an emergency landing. A French passenger from Cameroon claimed she had a surgically implanted device in her body.
Baltimore businessman Stuart Frankel was on board.
“[The flight attendants said] it’s rest time. People want to watch the movie. Could you pull down your shades? We learned later there were two F-15 jets on the wing tips but no one knew that,” Frankel said.
The pilot told passengers the plane that left France heading for Charlotte needed to land for fuel in Maine. When Frankel saw a slew of emergency vehicles on the runway, he knew something was wrong. Then he snapped a picture of a woman in handcuffs taken into custody. Frankel spoke to a doctor who examined her during the flight.
“They were looking for incisions, recent scarring so if she had any kind of operation that was obvious where she could have had a device implanted in her and they didn’t see anything,” Frankel said.
Homeland Security says the plane was not in danger but after the failed underwear bombing of a flight in 2009 and other attempts to hide bombs in printer cartridges, officials issued a warning that terrorists from Yemen called AQAP may try hiding explosives inside human bodies.
“The AQAP is clearly determined to pursue these attempted attacks and we’re going to do everything in our power to stop them,” said John Brennan, White House Counterterrorism.
“It was a little bit chilling, knowing someone could do something like that,” Frankel said.
The big concern is that surgically implanted bombs might be hard to detect by airport security, especially overseas where many countries do not use body imaging scanners.
The woman who triggered the scare will be sent back to France.