Plane Searched After Unknown “Employee” Disappears

Plane evacuated and searched after US Air employees don't recognize baggage handler

A US Airways plane was evacuated and searched at Philadelphia International Airport Thursday after authorities were alerted to a suspicious incident.

About 100 passengers on Bermuda-bound US Airways flight 1070 were evacuated from the plane at about 11:15 a.m. and towed to an isolated area at the airport in order to be searched after a man in a US Airways uniform allegedly had wrong identification to prove he was a real employee.

The man had ID that allowed him into the airport but two US Air baggage handlers noticed the man with no employee tags loading the plane with them.

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“As the plane’s being loaded... the other baggage handlers didn’t recognize this person and when they asked him who he was -- cause they didn’t recognize him -- he drove away from the plane on a baggage cart," said FBI spokesman J.J. Klaver.

The flight was scheduled to depart Thursday morning, but passengers were removed and the plane was towed to a secure area for inspection. The Airbus 319 was surrounded by emergency vehicles with lights flashing, and security dogs moved from bag to bag, checking luggage spread on the ground near the jet.

US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher confirmed the search but would not comment on specifics, citing the ongoing investigation.

The Transportation Security Administration said all passengers were re-screened and nothing suspicious was found.

The plane was cleared for take off a little after 3 p.m.

But officials, including the FBI, were still trying to find out the identity of the mystery man.


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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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