Friday September 28, 2001 3:00 AM
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A passenger allegedly uttered an
anti-American threat during a confrontation with flight attendants
Thursday, prompting an airliner to return to Los Angeles under
escort by Air Force jet fighters.
The FBI identified the passenger as Javid Naghani, an Iranian
citizen in the United States legally. He was in custody Thursday
evening being questioned by investigators, said FBI
spokeswoman Laura Bosley.
Authorities would not describe the threat.
``Shortly after departure a male passenger was apprehended
smoking in the lavatory,'' said Nicole Couture-Simard,
spokeswoman for Air Canada in Montreal. ``The passenger
became verbally abusive and uttered an anti-American threat.''
The confrontation aboard Air Canada Flight 792 to Toronto was
resolved without further incident, and the plane landed safely
less than an hour after takeoff, authorities said.
Naghani was traveling on the Boeing 767 with a woman. She
was also being questioned but was not under arrest, Bosley
A third man was being questioned as a material witness, said
Nancy Castles, an airport spokeswoman.
Couture-Simard said it was not necessary to restrain the
``The pilot elected to return to Los Angeles as a precautionary
measure only,'' she said.
There were 145 people on the plane, including a crew of seven,
said Nancy Castles, an airport spokeswoman. The jet returned
to the airport around 1:15 p.m. and passengers were booked on
the next flight.
Two F-16s escorted the Air Canada flight into the airport,
authorities said. Castles said the jets were likely responding to
a Federal Aviation Administration request after the pilot of the
767 described the situation to the FAA.
The incident occurred as Gov. Gray Davis was traveling to an
airport press conference on a shuttle bus.
``We were about five minutes out of Lot C when those two jets
buzzed the airport, so we knew something was up,'' said Davis,
who announced a call-up of National Guard troops to bolster
security, then took a flight to San Francisco to demonstrate
confidence in air travel.