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Updated Monday, September 9, 2002
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Posted on Tue, Aug. 27, 2002
Fighter Jets Escort Plane to Md.

Associated Press Writer

Two military jets escorted a US Airways flight to Baltimore-Washington International Airport after a "miscommunication" Tuesday between the pilot and air traffic controllers, officials said.

"The pilot said something to the control tower that was perceived as a possible security threat. What he said I don't know," said David Castelveter, a spokesman for US Airways, calling it a "miscommunication."

The miscommunication came shortly after Flight 1814 took off at 8:07 a.m. from Charlotte, N.C., for BWI, Castelveter said.

Two F-16 jets from Andrews Air Force Base were sent to intercept and escort the Airbus A319, said Maj. Ed Thomas of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The plane landed about 9:30 a.m. and was boarded by FBI agents, who talked to the crew of five and the 45 passengers and concluded it was a false alarm, said FBI spokesman Barry Maddox.

Passengers were released from the plane shortly after 11 a.m. They said the plane's crew gave them little information and were unaware of a problem until the plane landed and was surrounded by police cars.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration were investigating.

Passenger Ebony Gill, 18, of Baltimore, said she was thinking of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as she waited for agents to clear the plane.

"It was terrifying," she said. "But we're safe, and I guess they were just taking the proper precautions, and I can't complain too much about that."


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