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FBI: Incident on Flight to RDU Posed No Threat

Posted September 21, 2007
Updated September 22, 2007

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— The FBI early Saturday said a misunderstanding apparently sparked an incident on a flight from Florida that Raleigh-Durham International Airport officials initially classified as a possible terrorist incident.

FBI agents determined that a "misperception" caused the alert and said there was never any threat to passengers or crew members.

American Eagle Flight 4518 left from Jacksonville, Fla., at 7:10 p.m. for Raleigh. "Approximately 30 minutes prior to landing, a flight attendant observed suspicious activity by two of the passengers and reported this activity accordingly," the FBI said in a statement.

Dozens of law-enforcement and emergency personnel met the plane at a remote part of the airfield around 8:20 p.m. Three crew members and 27 passengers were kept on the plane for more than an hour, until RDU police, FBI agents and airport emergency crews evacuated them on movable stairs around 9:50 p.m.

RDU police bused passengers to a building where they were questioned, and explosives teams checked the bags form the flight.

Early reports said the FBI arrested two passengers, but hours later, the FBI said it had arrested no one and was closing the case.

"Subsequent investigation, including interviews with those aboard the aircraft and a search of the airplane, has determined there was never any apparent threat or danger to the passengers or crew, and the observed activity was apparently misperceived," agents added.

Around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, four hours after their plane landed, passengers were taken to terminal C, where they collected their bags, which had been checked by bomb-disposal experts, and went on their way.

RDU commercial operations proceeded normally during the incident, with both main runways open.

The reported "disturbance" on the plane was initially classified as a terrorist threat as a precaution, according to RDU Spokeswoman Colleen Fischvogt.

Flight 4518 had been scheduled to arrive at Gate C26.The plane was an Embraer ERJ-145, a regional twin-engine jet, according to its schedule information.


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  • IfByWhiskey-a-go-go Sep 23, 2007


    Precaution? What a crock. It was classified as a 'terrorist threat' in order to maintain the establishment elite's agenda of manipulating public opinion via emotionalism and sensationalism. They must think the public are sheep, and can't think for themselves. Oh wait, they are......

  • tmedlin Sep 22, 2007

    Gov. Spitzer - NY state just revoked requirements to prove citizenship in order to get driver's licenses...great - that's all a terrorist needs to get on a plane...the democratic party at work to protect us - NOT!

  • tmedlin Sep 22, 2007

    who gets the credit for all the attacks against the homeland that have been thwarted over the last 5 years?

  • La_Grange_Dude Sep 22, 2007

    So now here we are 6 years later and the man who successfully launced the biggest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor is still out there, alive and well. As a matter of fact, he is still pushing his agenda againest the US and it's allies with pretty much no resistance from the US or anybody else for that matter. Hey Mr Pearce, Bush has done a great job, I feel so much sfer after so many billions of our hard erned tax dollars have been spent of terrorism. Anyday now we could all suffer the same fate we suffered 6 years ago. Wow, what a stand up guy our president is. We are all SO MUCH SAFER.

  • La_Grange_Dude Sep 22, 2007

    MrPearce, I'd be at the top of that page too, right along with Henry1. Let's look at your post to Henry1:
    1. Yes Bus did face one of the most difficult problems our country as seen is many years, we can all agree on that I am sure.
    2.Yes the power balance you speak of concerning our rights, freedoms and the constitution was tremendous.
    3.Are we safer then before 9/11? Somewhat as far as airline travel yes. In general, NOT AT ALL. He has failed in many areas and the most obvious is in securing our borders.
    4. He has pretty much given up the effort to go after the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Bin Laden,to go after Sadam in Iraq. Sadam should have been taken down, but after we had exhausted every effort to get Bin Laden and that was not done. Bush moved all attention form Bin Laden and focused on Sadam,who at the time was not a threat to us or the region. The region was more stable with Sadam in power than it is today.
    5.Most who re-elected Bush would not vote for him today.

  • Is it Friday yet Sep 22, 2007

    "its gonna happen no matter what we do!!"

    Really? So we do nothing?

  • Is it Friday yet Sep 22, 2007

    "it is true thought that we are getting more and more paranoid these days.."

    Speak for yourself lemming.

  • billy Sep 22, 2007

    Pretty poor details in this story.
    What was the "perceived" problem?
    I thought those were journalistic requirements.
    Until, and if, we get the details we shouldn't all be jumping to conclusions. Since the media can't seem to get the details maybe someone from the airport or law enforcement can log on and give details.

  • USA Sep 22, 2007

    Builder03 - I agree that all Middle Eastern People shouldn't be branded; I don't agree that Bush caused this. I would like to hear you insight on the following though: Why don't Middle Eastern People who don't support Terrorism standup and denounce it? Is it out of fear?

  • USA Sep 22, 2007

    MrPearce - Not sure what SEAIRESCUE is saying , but as for me...Thank you, your comments are on the mark!!!