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Hoax Report of Poison Gas Detains Plane For Hours At NYC Airport

March 21, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) _ An airplane from Greece with 211 passengers was held for more than eight hours while federal agents checked a report that poison gas was aboard. The report proved to be a hoax.

The passengers and 21 crew members from the Olympic Airways 747 were released starting about 1:30 a.m. today after federal agents questioned them and investigators wearing protective gear checked the plane.

No suspicious material was found. The FBI, the Federal Aviation Administration and the airline all said the incident was apparently a hoax.

``I don’t know if we’re sure who did it,″ said FBI spokesman Joseph Valiquette. ``Either way, we’re not going to say any more.″

The incident occurred a day after an attack on Tokyo’s subway system with nerve gas killed eight people and sickened thousands of others.

Flight 421′s captain, Chris Konstantopoulos, said takeoff from Athens also was delayed, by about an hour, because of a report of a toxic liquid on board.

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