Discovery of Small Knife Sends Rome-Bound Plane Back to Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) -- An American Airlines flight that had taken off on a flight to Rome returned to O'Hare International Airport because a passenger found a small knife on board, an airline spokeswoman said Sunday.

American Airlines Flight 110 had been in the air for more than an hour Saturday when the passenger found the knife inside an airline-provided package containing a pillow and blanket, American spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said.

The plane was returned to O'Hare as a security precaution, Fagan said. The Boeing 767-300, which had 199 passengers, landed about 2½ hours after taking off.

Fagan said the airline did not know how the knife got into the plastic-wrapped package. Airline personnel found nothing suspicious on board following the landing.

The federal Transportation Security Administration later cleared the aircraft for takeoff, TSA spokeswoman Jessie Nicholson said.

However, passengers had to spend the night in Chicago because the flight crew had worked too many consecutive hours under federal regulations. The flight left Sunday morning, Fagan said.