Religious Item Feared to Be Bomb Causes Plane Diversion
** A teenage airplane passenger using a Jewish prayer object caused a misunderstanding that led the captain to divert a Kentucky-bound plane to Philadelphia and prompted a visit from a bomb squad.**
A 17-year-old boy on US Airways Express Flight 3079 from New York to Louisville was using tefillin, a set of small black boxes containing biblical passages that are attached to leather straps, said Philadelphia police Lt. Frank Vanore.
When used in prayer, one box is strapped to the arm while the other box is placed on the head.
The teen explained the ritual after being questioned by crew members of the flight, which had left LaGuardia Airport around 7:30 a.m. and was operated by Chautauqua Airlines, authorities said.
Officials with the airline, however, said crew members “did not receive a clear response” when they talked with the teen, according to a statement issued by Republic Airways, which owns Chautauqua.
“Therefore, in the interest of everyone’s safety, the crew decided to land in Philadelphia, where a more complete investigation and follow-up with authorities would be possible,” the statement said.
Here’s a picture of a man praying with tefillin.
I’m going hold off jumping on the indignation bandwagon. With shoe and underpants bombers somebody wrapping a leather strap with little boxes attached to his arm has to look – odd, at best.