Video: Plane diverted

updated 5/17/2005 3:54:05 PM ET 2005-05-17T19:54:05

An Alitalia jet headed to Boston was diverted to Maine on Tuesday because a passenger’s name matched that of a person on the U.S. government’s no-fly list, but the FBI later said the man was not a suspected terrorist.

Flight 618 from Milan, Italy, landed before 1 p.m. at Bangor International Airport, where the passenger and his luggage were removed. The plane took off an hour later and was due in Boston around 2:45 p.m.

The FBI questioned the man and decided not to arrest him, spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz said. She said the case was referred to immigration officials, but declined to comment further.

The nationality of the passenger was not immediately known.

A Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman said nothing unusual had occurred during the flight. But Canadian fighter jets escorted the flight through that country’s air space, and two F-15 Eagles from Otis Air National Guard base on Cape Cod escorted it through U.S. air space to Bangor.

TSA spokeswoman Yolanda Clark said the agency was “working with Alitalia to determine how the passenger was allowed to board the aircraft.”

Last week, an Air France flight to Boston was diverted to Bangor because someone on board had nearly the same name and birth date as a person on the government’s list of suspected terrorists. That passenger was determined to be a different person and was allowed to continue his trip.

The no-fly list identifies individuals who have known or suspected links to terrorism, or who have been otherwise identified as a threat to aviation, the TSA said.

Bangor has become a stopping-off point for problem flights because it is the last major U.S. airport for jets headed across the Atlantic and the first for incoming flights.

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