Detained Passenger Released After Plane Evacuation at LaGuardia

An American Airlines flight passenger was briefly detained and later released after being reported to authorities for supposed "behavior that caused concern."

The plane that arrived from Indianapolis was evacuated after arriving at LaGuardia Airport on Saturday afternoon with passengers told to get onto the tarmac due to a security issue.

According to a statement sent to CNN from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey the flight was evacuated "in response to reports by passengers of suspicious and erratic behavior by a fellow passenger."

Port Authority spokesman Thomas Topousis told the network that passengers at one point became scared when the suspect reached for his luggage.

He added that there were 76 passengers and six crew who were aboard the flight at the time.

But, it later emerged the passenger was briefly detained and then released after officials determined there was no threat to the public.

A spokesperson at the Port Authority later told Newsweek: "All passengers were safely removed. Two passengers who were closest to the passenger reported as suspicious were interviewed, as was the flight crew.

"The passenger who displayed the behavior that caused concern by other passengers was detained and interviewed by law enforcement.

"The passenger who was detained did not make any verbal threats and was not observed holding a suspicious item.

"As a result of the investigation, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the FBI and the Port Authority Police Department determined that there was no criminality and the passenger was released."

Initial reports from CNN said passengers reported seeing suspicious behavior on the plane and that they had alerted the flight crew and then the captain who then took the precautionary action to halt the plane away from the terminal.

LaGuardia Airport confirmed an incident had taken place onboard an American Airlines flight on Saturday and that an evacuation had taken place on one of its aircraft.

The earlier incident involving a disruptive American Airlines/Republic Airways passenger and an evacuation of passengers has been resolved, and the airport is operating normally.
*JC

— LaGuardia Airport. Wear a Face Covering. (@LGAairport) October 9, 2021

In a tweet shared on Saturday, an airport spokesperson said: "The earlier incident involving a disruptive American Airlines/Republic Airways passenger and an evacuation of passengers has been resolved and the airport is operating normally."

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) also responded to the incident in a tweet and said she and her team were being briefed on the latest information.

She said: "Earlier today, a pilot decided to make an emergency landing at @LGAairport due to a passenger disturbance. The passenger is in custody.

"We are monitoring the situation, and there is no reason to believe there is any danger to New Yorkers at this time."

Earlier today, a pilot decided to make an emergency landing at @LGAairport due to a passenger disturbance. The passenger is in custody.

We are monitoring the situation, and there is no reason to believe there is any danger to New Yorkers at this time.

— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) October 9, 2021

Footage claimed to have been taken shortly after the plane was evacuated was uploaded onto social media on Saturday.

In the clip, seen by Newsweek, a man can be seen lying face down on the ground as security officials stand nearby.

Passengers were then seen walking away from the man and plane towards the airport.

Newsweek has contacted LaGuardia Airport for comment.

Update 10/10/2021 11:07 a.m. ET: This article was updated to reflect the new information from a Port Authority spokesperson that the passenger who was detained was later released.

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In this photo, a new American Airlines 737-800 aircraft featuring a new paint job with the company’s new logo sits at a gate at O'Hare Airport on January 29, 2013, in Chicago, Illinois. An American Airlines plane was evacuated following an incident involving a passenger on board. Scott Olson/Getty Images