Tim Cole  /  AP
In this photo provided by passenger Tim Cole, a Delta Air Lines jet en route to San Diego from Detroit sits at a remote area of Albuquerque International Sunport, Sunday, May 8, 2011, in Albuquerque, N.M., as some of the passengers standby at right, and their carry-on luggage is seen laid out on the tarmac for inspection after the flight was diverted due to a "potential security threat." (AP Photo/Tim Cole)
msnbc.com news services
updated 5/8/2011 5:44:12 PM ET 2011-05-08T21:44:12

Two domestic airline flights were diverted Sunday in separate incidents.

In the first, a Delta Air Lines flight from Detroit to San Diego was diverted to Albuquerque, N.M., then cleared to take off again after authorities found "no suspicious devices" on the plane, an FBI spokesman said.

Agency spokesman Frank Fisher declined to clarify the nature of the "potential security threat" that caused the plane to be diverted to New Mexico. He said agents searched the plane and interviewed the crew and 107 passengers before clearing the aircraft to fly again.

Albuquerque International Sunport spokesman Daniel Jiron also declined to say what the potential threat was.

The flight was diverted at 10 a.m. MDT. Jiron said it was cleared to fly again around 12:30 p.m. but doesn't know what time the plane would take off.

Passenger Tim Cole, 55, of a Hazleton, Penn., told The Associated Press that the pilot told passengers that a note that had the word "bomb" on it was found in one of the plane's bathrooms.

"The captain came on and said 'You notice we're declining. We're getting ready to divert. It's probably a hoax, but we've got to take this very seriously,'" Cole said from the Albuquerque airport.

Fisher did not answer repeated questions over phone and email about the note.

Cole said he and the other passengers were brought to a warehouse at the airport after FBI agents and dogs searched everyone's carry-on luggage.

He said an agent asked him only a couple of questions, and that all passengers got water, soda and pizza.

"I know some people were afraid but everybody has been pretty good," he said. "I travel all the time, so you know, I'm just one of those people who says 'What happens, happens.' I'm really glad they take it so seriously."

In the second incident, a flight from Houston to Chicago was diverted to St. Louis because a passenger tried to open the plane's door during the flight.

Continental Airlines Flight 546 landed safely at Lambert International Airport after the incident. A witness told the Chicago Tribune that a man onboard tried to open the door, but a flight attendant's screams drew an air marshal, who restrained the man.

The passenger, a former reporter for the Tribune, said she feared it was somehow related to Osama Bin Laden's death.

"I started shaking and tears were coming out of my eyes," she said. "My heart was pounding through my chest."

The FAA confirmed the incident. After the plane made its emergency landing, the man who allegedly tried to open the door was taken into custody.

Continental Airlines said there was no indication the unruly passenger was in any way connected to a terrorist threat.

The plane was inspected for explosives. None were found, and it was allowed to continue its journey to Chicago.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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