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Man’s Vintage Camera Mistaken for Bomb, Causes Emergency Landing

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A passenger flight was forced to make an emergency landing in NYC this weekend after a woman mistook a fellow passenger’s vintage camera for a bomb. The suspected terrorist was pinned to the tarmac before authorities figured out he was a camera enthusiast.

The New York Times and NY Daily News report that American Airlines Flight 4817 from Indianapolis made an emergency landing at LaGuardia Airport at about 3pm Saturday and that a passenger had been taken in to custody on suspicion of carrying a bomb onto the airplane.

The incident reportedly occurred after a woman spotted a fellow passenger scrolling through videos and photos of vintage cameras. She mistook the images of vintage cameras for bombs and believed that the passenger was looking up bomb-making instructions.

The woman’s fears peaked after the man pulled out his own vintage camera and began fiddling with its settings — she believed that he was setting a timer on a bomb’s detonator. She then notified a flight attendant and the pilots decided to land in Queens.

CNN interviewed two passengers who were on the flight and they recalled the tense moments when everyone was urged to evacuate from the plane.

Although it was unclear what the issue was at first, passengers soon realized there was a security issue after seeing authorities grab a man and pin him to the ground.

The suspected terrorist was forced to lie face-down on the ground and be searched. His bags were also confiscated and searched, and they only revealed a skateboard and other vintage cameras.

After being detained several hours by Port Authority police officers and federal agents, the vintage camera enthusiast was finally cleared of any wrongdoing and released.

Port Authority spokesman Tom Topousis said that “The JTTF [Joint Terrorism Task Force], the FBI and the Port Authority Police Department determined that there was no criminality on the part of the passenger and he was released.”

The identity of the detained man was not released by authorities and he has yet to be interviewed to share his account of what transpired.

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