A passenger who caused a British Airways jet to return to the UK after US authorities objected to the man landing in New York was questioned and released by police.
The 747 jumbo jet was almost halfway into its journey yesterday when the decision was taken to turn it around following the US request, said a BA spokesman.
A spokeswoman from the US Transportation Security Administration said: “There was a person travelling on a French passport who was a positive match with an anti-terrorism watch list.
“Homeland security made the match by checking data transmitted after the flight departed from London.”
The spokeswoman added that the man, who was not named, was met by FBI officials when the plane arrived at Heathrow airport late yesterday afternoon.
British police detained the man, but stressed he was not arrested, and released him without charge after questioning him for two hours.
Very strange. Like so many such stories, there is much more being withheld than revealed. If there was no reason to hold him, the plane should not have been turned back. If there was reason to turn the plane back, it is curious that he was released so quickly.