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Bomb scare that led to emergency landing in NY was just passenger adjusting camera, sources say

LaGuardia Airport (Leonard J. DeFrancisci/WikiCommons)

The “security incident” that forced a New-York bound flight to make an emergency landing at LaGuardia Airport on Saturday turned out to be a misunderstanding — after an airline passenger mistook another traveler’s camera for a bomb, sources said Sunday.

American Airlines Flight 4817 from Indianapolis — operated by Republic Airways — made an emergency landing at LaGuardia just after 3 p.m., and authorities took a suspicious passenger into custody for several hours.

It turns out the would-be “bomber” was just a vintage camera aficionado and the woman who reported him made a mistake, sources said.

The woman was traveling with her husband and children, sitting across the aisle from her spouse, when she spotted another man in her husband’s row scrolling through videos and photos of vintage cameras, sources said.

She thought he was looking up bomb-making instructions, and when the man pulled out his own camera and adjusted it she was convinced he was setting a timer on a detonator, sources said.

The man was traveling with two checked bags, which were taken off the aircraft and screened. Among various personal items were a skateboard and vintage cameras, sources said.

Port Authority police officers and federal agents detained the man for several hours before giving him the all-clear, sources said.

“The JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force), the FBI and the Port Authority Police Department determined that there was no criminality on the part of the passenger and he was released,” said Port Authority spokesman Tom Topousis.


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