Man detained after causing disturbance on flight

AP News
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Posted: Dec 28, 2009 3:36 PM

Federal authorities may file charges against an intoxicated passenger who caused a disturbance aboard a Salt Lake City-bound jetliner and was detained by police upon landing.

"There does not appear at this time to be a connection to any kind of terrorist activity at all," FBI spokeswoman Debbie Dujanovic Bertram said Monday.

Three airport officers met Delta flight 1268 from Seattle on reaching Salt Lake City International Airport about 8:30 p.m. Sunday and took the man into custody, said Dwayne Baird, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration.

"My understanding was he was intoxicated," Baird said Monday.

Earlier Monday, Airport Director of Operations Randall Berg told The Associated Press that the man knocked on the pilots' cabin door, but federal authorities wouldn't discuss any circumstances of the case or release the man's name.

Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Salt Lake City, confirmed that the incident was not a terrorist threat.

"It became a question whether there was an interference with the flight crew," Rydalch said. "We asked the FBI to do a few more follow-up interviews with the crew."

The man wasn't taken into federal custody or arrested, but he was briefly turned over to airport police for questioning, Baird said.

Delta Airlines spokeswoman Susan Elliot described the man as being intoxicated but had no further information on the disruption.

She said the flight landed safely and there were no problems among the 164 passengers and crew members aboard.

Just two days earlier, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, attempted to destroy a plane by igniting an explosive on his body shortly before arrival in Detroit, the FBI said. Passengers pounced on him to extinguish the flames.