'Claustrophobic' passenger sparks US flight scare

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The Independent US

Fighter jets escorted a London-to-Washington flight to Boston's airport today after the pilot declared an emergency. An apparently claustrophobic passenger had caused a disturbance, said a federal official.

The federal security official said there was no indication of terrorism and denied early reports that the woman had a screwdriver, matches and a note referring to al-Qa'ida.

The female passenger aboard United Flight 923 said she was claustrophobic and became very upset and got into some kind of confrontation with the flight crew, said George Naccara, federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration for Massachusetts' airport.

The disturbance - coming just a week after authorities in London said they foiled a terror plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights - was enough to concern the pilot to issue an alert, which activated two fighter jets to escort the flight into Logan, Naccara said.

Naccara said he did not believe any items she was carrying were the cause of the outburst.

The flight, with 182 passengers and 12 crew members landed safely and State Police and federal agencies took control of the plane after it landed.

Luggage was removed from the plane and put on the tarmac, where it was rechecked by security officials and sniffer dogs.