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FlightDisturbance 03-04

Passenger accused of threatening to blow up plane headed for Ireland

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A man is in custody on federal charges alleging he threatened to blow up an airliner that was en route to Ireland.

A detention hearing is set for today for Aiden Simon Mackle, 44, of Portadown, Northern Ireland.

Mackle is accused of telling a Delta Air Lines employee that he was a terrorist after drinking and becoming unruly on Flight 146 from Atlanta. The flight was diverted to Bangor International Airport early Saturday.

Mackle faces federal charges of assault and interfering with a flight crew.

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He declined a request for a jail interview.

According to an FBI affidavit, he smoked a cigarette in a restroom on the Boeing 76, then became verbally abusive when he was confronted and told a flight attendant he was associated with Osama bin Laden and was going to hijack the plane.

He later responded to an off-duty pilot who told him that the flight might have to make an emergency landing by saying "OK, I’m a terrorist. Go ahead and land the plane," and punching an off-duty flight attendant, the affidavit said.

The plane with its 184 remaining passengers left Bangor after about two hours, said airport manager Rebecca Hupp.

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