ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Federal air safety officials now say that there were no security issues at all aboard a United Airlines flight that turned around on the tarmac and returned to a gate at Lambert-St. Louis airport Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks.
Passenger Ron Meyer told KMOX that two passengers on board United Airlines Flight 3681 had been acting suspiciously, spending time in the plane’s lavatory, prompting the return to the gate and deplaning of the passengers. “As far as I understood, there was some fishy activity in the restroom,” Meyer said. “They were in there together and that’s what gave the flight attendants the red flag.”
A flight attendant told Meyer that when confronted by the crew, the men identified themselves as air marshals, but when the men couldn’t prove their claim the pilot made the decision to return to the gate . The men were removed from the aircraft and the passengers had to re-board after a second security check and their baggage was re-examined.
A statement from the Transportation Security Adminstration says only UA 3681 returned to the gate at the pilot’s direction for unknown reasons, adding that the TSA does not provide flight information for Federal Air Marshals. Officials did say that, after passengers reboarded, the flight proceeded to its destination, Washington/Dulles, without incident.
Meyer tells KMOX News that the pilot later told him they were finally able to determine the men were indeed Federal Air Marshals.
OUR EARLIER STORY:
KMOX News has calls out to security officials at Lambert-St. Louis airport, seeking confirmation about a possible security scare aboard a St. Louis-to-Washington flight Sunday, Sept. 11.
According to the conservative political website www.biggovernment.com, United Airlines flight 3681 bound for Washington-Dulles airport was forced back to the gate at Lambert due to suspicious behavior involving two passengers who were reportedly frequenting the aircraft’s restroom.
Ron Meyer was a passenger on Flight 3681 — he reported that the men attempted to pass themselves off as TSA agents and were eventually confronted by the plane’s crew.
“These two guys identified themselves as air marhals,” Meyer said, “and that’s why we needed to deplane because they didn’t have any paperwork, any proof, and it was just a really odd situation.”
After the passengers were deplaned, they were re-screened by security along with all the luggage.
The flight then proceeded to Washington-Dulles without incident.
Again, KMOX News and www.kmox.com will bring you the latest details on this story as soon as they become available.
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