updated 12/11/2007 4:51:06 PM ET 2007-12-11T21:51:06

Authorities in Florida arrested a 42-year-old man in connection with a false threat against a plane bound for Atlanta from Orlando.

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Jerry James Williams of Auburndale, Fla., was arrested Monday night at Orlando International Airport and charged Tuesday with conveying false information in violation of an airline safety statute, said Dave Couvertier with the FBI office in Tampa.

After an initial federal court appearance in Orlando, Williams was detained until another hearing, possibly later this week, Couvertier said. It was not immediately known whether Williams had an attorney.

AirTran Airways Flight 856 was about 20 minutes outside Atlanta on Monday night when airline officials learned that a man had made a nonspecific threat against the flight, AirTran Vice President of Marketing Tad Hutcheson said Tuesday.

The man, using an airport courtesy phone, claimed his wife was on the flight and had made a threat against the plane, Hutcheson said.

AirTran officials radioed the Boeing 717, which landed in a remote area at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Hutcheson said.

The 98 passengers and five crew members on board were bused to the airport, and TSA workers rescreened passengers by hand as a precaution.

Officers from the Atlanta Police Department and the Transportation Security Administration searched the aircraft.

Hutcheson said the woman told authorities she was his ex-girlfriend. She was allowed to travel on to Philadelphia, where she lives, he said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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