PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A love triangle may have led to the hoax threat that prompted authorities to turn around a US Airways flight that was on its way from Philadelphia to Dallas yesterday.
Authorities say Kenneth Smith called police at the Philadelphia airport yesterday to report that a passenger heading to Texas was carrying a liquid explosive.
The plane, which had gone about 90 miles, was brought back to Philadelphia, where it was surrounded by police. A passenger, Christopher Shell, was taken off at gunpoint. Authorities later said he had done nothing wrong.
According to an affidavit, he told police during questioning that he'd been involved in a feud that also involved his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend, named "Kenny." He said he had traded "hostile messages" on his cellphone with the ex-girlfriend.
He gave police the name of Smith's workplace, where he was questioned. Authorities say Smith admitting making the call from a payphone, to get even with Shell for posting a compromising picture of the ex-girlfriend on Facebook.
Smith is facing charges that could bring up to 10 years in prison.
As for Shell, he finally made it to Dallas -- where he was arrested, but not in connection with the hoax. He had outstanding warrants for two drug possession charges.
339-a-14-(Steve McNeal, US Airways Flight 1267 passnger, in AP interview)-"of the flight"-US Airways Flight 1267 passenger Steve McNeal says he was surprised when the passenger sitting next to him was arrested. (6 Sep 2012)
<<CUT *339 (09/06/12)>> 00:14 "of the flight"
118-a-10-(Winter Kennedy, US Airways Flight 1267 passenger, in AP interview)-"back to Pennsylvania"-US Airways Flight 1267 passenger Winter Kennedy says passengers on board Flight 1267 were not told the real reason for the flight's return to Philadelphia. (7 Sep 2012)
<<CUT *118 (09/07/12)>> 00:10 "back to Pennsylvania"
APPHOTO TXKJ102: This Sept. 6 2012 photo provided by the DFW Airport Department of Public Safety shows Christopher Shell. When flying home to Texas to celebrate his 29th birthday on Thursday, Shell became became the unwitting victim of a midair explosives hoax that forced the plane's return to Philadelphia. He was escorted off the aircraft at gunpoint, then cleared of any link to explosives. Later Thursday, Shell ended up getting arrested on outstanding warrants when the plane reached Dallas. (AP Photo/DFW Airport Department of Public Safety) (7 Sep 2012)
<<APPHOTO TXKJ102 (09/07/12)>>