CHARLOTTE, N.C. (
) -- A flurry of airline incidents have been reported aboard commercial aircraft this past weekend.
Three security incidents occurred on Sunday.
flight from Chicago approached San Francisco, a passenger began pounding on the cockpit door and screaming, according to
The Associated Press
. The passenger, who had a Yemeni passport, was wrestled to the floor and handcuffed by flight attendants and passengers. He faces federal charges of interfering with a flight crew.
flight from Houston to Chicago was diverted to St. Louis after a passenger tried to open a door. Also, a Delta flight was diverted to Albuquerque, N.M., after a note was found in a bathroom with the word "bomb" written on it. Authorities found no suspicious devices on the aircraft.
A passenger told
The Associated Press
that the pilot announced that the note had been found. "The captain came on and said, 'You notice we're declining. We're getting ready to divert. It's probably a hoax, but we've got to take this very seriously,'" the passenger said.
On Friday, two Muslim clerics wearing traditional garb, traveling from Memphis, Tenn., to a conference in Charlotte, N.C., were kicked off an Atlantic Southeast plane operating as a
Early reports indicated their removal was ordered by the aircraft's pilot. On Friday, Transportation Security Administration spokesman Jon Allen had told the
of Memphis that the men "were screened and cleared to fly" by the agency. But later, one of the passengers told the
that "he spoke to the pilot after landing in Charlotte and the pilot told him that TSA requested the plane return to the terminal."
An airline spokesman said the incident was under investigation. The two clerics were put on aircraft that departed later. It turned out the clerics were headed to a weekend conference on "Islamophobia" in Charlotte.
"The irony of their going to a convention on Islamophobia when this happened is not lost," said aviation consultant Robert Mann.
Mann said he sensed that security was heightened as he boarded flights last week at Kennedy International Airport and at Miami International Airport. "I suspect there were advisories of some sort that related to the changed state of balance," he said. "It is always an interesting dynamic, how that is interpreted by individuals and carriers. You rarely get the full story on these incidents, given the security sensitivities."
In the case of the Memphis incident, Iman Masoud Rahman, one of the two travelers, told
The Commercial Appeal
: "I don't know what kind of pilot he was, I don't know his mentality, (but) I think some action should be taken so this won't happen with other people, any religion, any person, any professional."
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.
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