updated 2/20/2004 8:39:46 PM ET 2004-02-21T01:39:46

Federal officials are trying to sort out the chain of events that triggered the diversion of a Moroccan-bound jetliner, an incident that apparently began when a passenger called home from the plane.

FBI spokesman Ross Rice said Friday there was no terrorist threat against the Royal Air Maroc flight, which took off from New York on Thursday evening and landed in Bangor four hours later, shortly after 11 p.m.

But Yolanda Clark, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, said her agency learned at about 10:30 p.m. that night that “a male passenger phoned his wife from the plane and stated he was going to blow it up.”

The Boeing 767 resumed its flight Friday and landed safely in Casablanca. Two men stayed behind in Maine to be questioned by federal authorities.

FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz identified one of the men as Zubair Ali Ghias, a 27-year-old investment banker who was reported missing to Chicago police Monday.

Marcinkiewicz declined to comment on statements from a private investigator in Chicago who said he called the FBI after Ghias called his family using a fellow passenger’s cell phone to say he had been abducted by al-Qaida.

Ghias was cooperating with authorities, she said, and no charges had been filed Friday.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official identified the second man who was detained as Ahmed Bhiksi, a Moroccan who was in the process of being deported from the United States. Spokeswoman Paula Grenier would not say why Bhiksi was being deported.

He left the plane with the other passengers while police searched for a bomb, but balked at getting back on, she said.

Bangor police Sgt. James Owens said Ghias and Bhiksi were seated together on the plane, but Grenier said it was coincidence that the men were on the same flight.

The private investigator, Ernie Rizzo, told The Associated Press that Ghias called his family from aboard the plane.

Rizzo quoted Ghias as telling his wife, “I’ve been captured by al-Qaida, they want me to do something for them. I love you, I just gotta do this.”

Rizzo said Ghias made no mention of a bomb, and that the FBI questioned the family. His account could not be immediately confirmed.

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