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Pa. man charged for airplane explosives prank call

Federal authorities charged Kenneth W. Smith Jr. with conveying false and misleading information.

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Passengers walk off a US Airways flight at Philadelphia International Airport, after the plane returned to the airport, on Sept. 6, in Philadelphia. Airport spokeswoman Victoria Lupica says US Airways Flight 1267 returned to the airport Thursday morning as a 'precaution.' Footage from WCAU-TV showed a person being escorted off the plane by law enforcement officials and police dogs on the tarmac. An FBI spokesman did not immediately comment on the situation.

Matt Rourke/AP

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A man has been charged with making a hoax threat that led authorities to recall a plane in midair to the Philadelphia airport.

Federal authorities charged 26-year-old Kenneth W. Smith Jr. with conveying false and misleading information.

According to a criminal complaint, Smith called police at the airport on Thursday and falsely reported a passenger was carrying an explosive substance.

Authorities then recalled a Dallas-bound US Airways flight to Philadelphia. Passenger Christopher Shell was taken off the plane at gunpoint by law enforcement officers, who later said Shell did nothing wrong.

Smith is scheduled for an initial appearance in federal court on Friday afternoon. The investigation is continuing.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and possible restitution.


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