Passenger Disturbance Diverts Dulles-bound Flight to Boston

Fighter jets escorted a London-to-Washington, D.C., flight to Boston's Logan airport Wednesday after the pilot declared an emergency because an apparently claustrophobic passenger caused a disturbance, a federal official said.

The federal security official said there was no indication of terrorism and denied reports that the woman had a screw driver, matches and a note referring to al-Qaida.

The female passenger aboard United Flight 923 said she was claustrophobic and became very upset and got into some kind of confrontation with the flight crew, said George Naccara, federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration for Massachusetts' airport.

The disturbance - coming just a week after authorities in London said they foiled a terror plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights - was enough to concern the pilot to issue an alert, which activated two fighter jets to escort the flight into Logan, Naccara said.

Naccara said he did not believe any items she was carrying were the cause of the outburst. An airport spokesman previously said the woman was carrying lotion, a screw driver and matches, but backed off the statement, and Naccara said it was not true.

The flight, with 182 passengers and 12 crew members landed safely, UAL Corp. spokesman Brandon Borrman said.

State Police and federal agencies took control of the plane after it landed.

Passengers were taken off the plane and loaded onto a bus. Naccara said the passengers were being interviewed. He had no information whether passengers had helped to subdue her.

Passenger luggage was removed from the plane and put on the tarmac, where it was rechecked by security officials and trained dogs.


AP reporters Jay Lindsay and Nancy Rabinowitz contributed to this report.

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