Saturday, February 19, 2005

Now what happened to this person is just terrible....I am willing to bet she was also put on the do not fly list too!

A burst of anger spurs airport bomb scareBy Mark ArnerUNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
February 18, 2005
A woman trying to catch a flight to San Diego caused an emergency search of the plane when it landed at Lindbergh Field yesterday by berating security officers and saying they were incapable of finding any weapons, authorities said.
The comment kept the 46-year-old New Jersey psychiatrist from boarding the flight in Phoenix. The plane, however, took off with her luggage, prompting an emergency search of it once the plane landed here.
When the woman boarded another flight to Lindbergh Field later in the day and tried to reclaim her luggage, she learned that it had been destroyed by the Metro Arson Strike Team while checking to see whether it contained a bomb.
The woman could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The problem started with security officers at Sky Harbor Airport, where the woman was preparing to board an America West flight.
"She was unhappy about being called over for a secondary screening, and was unhappy and began berating the screener," said Phoenix police Sgt. Randy Force. "She said something to the effect of, 'If there was an item in my baggage, the security screeners probably couldn't find it.' "
Officers detained and questioned the woman, who has extensive training in crisis intervention, according to her company's Web site. When they determined her comments did not constitute a threat, they let her leave.
But she missed her flight.
Nico Melendez, a spokesman for the federal Transportation Security Administration, said the plane was permitted to fly with the woman's luggage because it had been cleared by screening devices at the Phoenix airport.
Federal regulations allow baggage on flights if it passes such screening and whether or not the passenger is traveling on the same flight, Melendez said.
Federal Security Director Michael Aguilar, in charge of Lindbergh's security, said the Federal Aviation Administration disagreed with the Phoenix police assessment. The FAA notified Aguilar that a bomb threat had been made, and he said his staff had to follow protocol by removing all baggage from the plane and rescreening it.
After landing at Lindbergh Field about 7:10 a.m., the plane taxied to a remote area of the airport. Passengers were ordered onto the runway apron, where they were put into two buses, airport officials said.
A police dog then screened the plane for explosives. Members of the region's Metro Arson Strike Team, who checked the luggage, isolated the woman's bag, a small suitcase with wheels, Harbor police said.
They X-rayed it and probed it with an explosive detector, but their findings were inconclusive. So they dunked it in water and then used a mechanical device to rip it open. They found only clothing inside.
Mark Arner: (619) 542-4556;
Anyone wishing to respond to my notes posted in this weblog can do so on the we8there forum.