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Toronto-bound jet diverted by agitated traveler

/ Source: The Associated Press

A passenger jet bound for Toronto made an unscheduled landing in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday after an agitated passenger tried to tamper with an emergency door, an airline official said.

The Boeing B757 landed safely and nobody was hurt, said Sabah Mirza, spokeswoman for Canadian carrier Skyservice. She said flight crew and passengers restrained the man until the plane landed at the Punta Cana international airport in the late afternoon.

“At no time was the safety of the aircraft in jeopardy,” Mirza said. “While the door was never at risk of opening in flight, the flight crew reacted quickly and appropriately.”

The man, whose name and nationality were not immediately available, was detained by Dominican authorities for questioning.

Mirza said the other 201 passengers were being put up in hotels overnight and would travel to Toronto on Wednesday.

The flight originated in Grenada and stopped in Barbados before making the unscheduled landing. Investigators were inspecting the plane at Punta Cana, Dominican civil aviation spokesman Pedro Jimenez said.

Kathleen Bergen, a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman, said the plane's pilot told traffic controllers on the U.S. island of Puerto Rico that an indicator light warned of “a problem with a door,” and the flight was diverted as a precautionary measure.

The incident caused alarm in Grenada after a man told reporters there that a relative on the flight phoned him to say it was apparently being hijacked.

Skyservice operates in Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe.