The man had been watching videos about and reading instructions for vintage cameras on his phone, which the woman who reported him confused with explosive devices.
When the traveller pulled out a vintage camera of his own, the woman reported him to cabin crew, and eventually staff radioed to LaGuardia security that they would need assistance with a suspicious passenger and possible security threat upon landing.
The plane landed at a distance from airport terminals and passengers were evacuated using the inflatable slides while security staff dealt with the supposed terrorist.
The man was removed from the aircraft and forced to lie face down on the tarmac while security investigated his belongings, which included a skateboard and other vintage cameras.
Footage taken by fellow passengers of the incident shows staff in high-vis jackets pinning the suspect to the runway while fellow flyers back away from the scene.
Terrorism and explosives were quickly ruled out by security staff.
The aircraft was American Eagle flight 4817 travelling from Indianapolis to New York, a Port Authority spokesman confirmed.
“The JTTF [Joint Terrorism Task Force], the FBI and the Port Authority Police Department determined that there was no criminality on the part of the passenger and he was released,” spokesman Tom Topousis told New York Daily News.
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