Oakland airport detainees released

By Ron Harris
Saturday October 05, 2002


OAKLAND — Four men taken off of a Phoenix-bound flight and questioned by FBI agents at Oakland International Airport were later released, authorities said. 

The FBI would only say early Friday that the men were released and the incident is under review. No other information, including the men’s identities, was immediately available. 

America West Flight 624 was inspected at Gate 4 and sent on its way about an hour later than scheduled Thursday, said airport spokeswoman Cyndy Johnson. 

The four men detained were ticketed for the flight and had boarded the airplane at the gate, Johnson confirmed. 

The airplane was a Boeing 737 with 83 ticketed passengers, including the four men removed by police and an air marshal, and five crew members, according to America West spokeswoman Patty Nowack. 

After the men were removed from the airplane, all the remaining passengers deboarded as well. The airplane was then inspected, the passengers reboarded, and the flight took off, Nowack said. 

The flight was delayed for about an hour because of the incident. It departed for Phoenix at about 6:30 p.m. and arrived safely at 8:17 p.m. 

Johnson said proper safety precautions were taken, though she did not know why the men piqued the interest of police and federal agents. 

“What this is demonstrating is that the security measures that are in place and have been at a heightened awareness since Sept. 11 are working,” Johnson said.