Plane stops at BIA to remove passenger

Posted April 30, 2009, at 8:50 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — An airplane bound from Los Angeles to London diverted to Bangor International Airport on Wednesday evening after a female passenger reportedly caused a disturbance.

The unidentified British woman was removed from a Boeing 777 aircraft shortly before 9 p.m. by local police officers and taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center for an evaluation, according to Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards.

Edwards had no additional information about the woman’s behavior or what necessitated the plane to land at BIA. Her name was not released Thursday because she has not been charged with a crime, the sergeant said.

Local FBI and Customs and Border Patrol agents assisted Bangor police with the woman’s detainment. Any charges would come through the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which declined to comment Thursday.

Assistant airport director Tony Caruso said the United Airlines Flight 934 originated from Los Angeles and was headed for London’s Heathrow International Airport. At some point during the flight, the woman became agitated and the United crew made the decision to land in Bangor.

The plane, which carried 201 people, according to Caruso, was delayed at BIA for about two hours.

“This is one of those things that happens from time to time,” he said. “Normally, we get diverted planes for maintenance or fuel stops. It’s pretty rare that someone has to be removed from a plane.”

The last instance, on March 1, 2008, involved a man from Northern Ireland who allegedly threatened to blow up the airliner bound for Dublin, Ireland, on which he was a passenger. Aiden Simon Mackle, 44, of Portadown, Northern Ireland, was charged with interference with a flight crew and assault when he made his first appearance in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

Before that, a diversion occurred in late August 2006 when a security issue on an American Airlines trans-Atlantic flight with 167 passengers.

A man, described as being of Middle Eastern descent was pulled out of line and handcuffed as passengers disembarked from American Airlines flight en route from Manchester, England, to Chicago. The man later was questioned by FBI agents.

Authorities were tight-lipped about details.

erussell@bangordailynews.net

990-8167

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