Sat, Jan 26, 2008 - Page 7 News List

Teen took rope, duct tape, handcuffs on to airplane


A teenage passenger from Califor-nia was arrested in Nashville for plotting to hijack a plane from Los Angeles to Nashville, the FBI said yesterday.

FBI spokesman George Bolds said the 16-year-old boy was removed from Southwest Airlines Flight 284 on Tuesday night by authorities at Nashville International Airport and found with "suspicious" items.

Bolds said the teen had handcuffs, rope and duct tape in his bag and was believed to be traveling alone. The juvenile's name has not been released.

"His plan had a low probability of success," Bolds said.

Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Brandy King could not provide additional details. Airport spokeswoman Emily Richard declined to provide additional information because the passenger is a minor.

Messages left by the press with the US Department of Homeland Security were not immediately returned.

The teen is in custody at Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center, where he faced state charges, but Bolds did not comment on what the charges were. He said he expects federal charges to come.

Bolds dismissed earlier broadcast reports that the teen was planning to crash the plane into a "Hannah Montana" concert in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Bolds said it has not been determined if the boy was trying to crash the plane. He said authorities searched the teen's home in California and found a mock cockpit.

The teen is believed to be suicidal, Bolds said. Bolds said he could not comment further on the teen's mental condition because he is a minor.

Bolds said the teen was calm throughout the flight and never made an attempt to hijack the plane but told the FBI after he was apprehended about his original plans to commandeer the aircraft.

The Transportation Security Administration did not immediately return a message seeking comment to determine if the items were banned from air travel. TSA did not list the items the teen was carrying on its Web site as prohibited.

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