Pilot Mistook Prayer Box for Bomb, Redirected Flight

17-year-old accidentally sets off panic
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2010 11:28 AM CST
A plane is escorted by a law enforcement vehicle to a terminal at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Newser) – The “security concern” that caused a plane to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia turns out to have been a 17-year-old Jewish boy who was strapping prayer boxes to his head and arm. A stewardess mistook the Tefillin—ceremonial boxes containing scriptures that Orthodox Jews wear during morning prayers—for bombs, and alerted the pilot, who landed the plane, reporting a man with a device with “wires.”

In reality there were no wires, only leather straps. “It’s something they never seen before,” a police inspector tells the Philadelphia Inquirer. Police quickly determined that the boy and his 16-year-old sister posed no threat, but the two decided not to continue on to Louisville with the other passengers. Instead they’re waiting in Philly for relatives from New York to pick them up.

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