Main | Thursday, January 21, 2010

Air Scare: Orthodox Jewish Prayer Device Causes Flight Diversion

A flight out of LaGuardia was diverted to Philadelphia this morning after its flight crew became alarmed by an Orthodox Jewish teenager putting on his tefillin, a traditional prayer device involving two black boxes and long leather straps.
Authorities say, Chautauqua Airlines flight 3079 from LaGuardia to Louisville was diverted to Philadelphia after a 17-year-old male strapped on a "tefillin," also known as a phylactery, used in the Jewish religion for prayer purposes. Philadelphia police say a flight attendant had never seen tefillin before, which has two small black boxes with black straps attached to them. The attendant became alarmed and reported it. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says they were notified of a "disruptive passenger" on the plane and as a result was diverted to Philly. The Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia Police Department and federal authorities immediately went into Emergency Response mode and the plane that departed LaGuardia at 7:25 a.m. landed in Philadelphia at 8:50 a.m.
The boy and his sister were interviewed by Homeland Security as were the other passengers. Security officials described the boy as "completely cooperative."

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