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Bomb Threat Forces London-Bound Jetliner To Land

March 14, 1987

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) _ A Pan American World Airways flight from Detroit to London with 132 people aboard returned to Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Friday 15 minutes into the flight after a passenger said a bomb was under his seat, an airline spokeswoman said.

A search of the plane after it landed turned up no explosive device, said Wayne County Sheriff Robert Ficano. A man seated in the plane’s economy class was taken into custody and questioned by sheriff’s deputies and FBI agents.

The flight took off at about 6:50 p.m. and ″about 15 minutes into the flight one of the passengers in the economy section ... told the crew that he had a bomb underneath his seat,″ Pan Am spokeswoman Pamela Hanlon said from New York.

The plane, Pan Am Flight 54, landed at about 7:25 p.m., and the passengers left the airplane, which parked away from terminal gates, she said.

Ficano declined to identify or describe the passenger, who was unarmed when taken into custody. No charges had been filed Friday night.

Another economy-class passenger was struck on the head before the suspect was taken into custody, Ficano said. The passenger, who was not identified, was not seriously injured, he said.

The A310-200 Airbus was departed again for London at 11:10 p.m., Hanlon said.

The plane, carrying 18 passengers in first class and 114 in the economy section, was about 12,000 feet in the air when the man said he had a bomb under his seat, said Mike Pesola of the Federal Aviation Administration in Chicago.

Officials at the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department Metro Airport Division declined to comment. Calls there were referred to department spokeswoman Nancy Mouradian, who did not immediately return a telephone call.

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