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Korean Air flight to San Francisco diverted

A Korean Air flight to California was diverted to Japan after U.S. officials refused to let it enter American airspace because they suspected a passenger might be a terrorist, airline officials said Tuesday.
/ Source: Reuters

A Korean Air flight bound for San Francisco was diverted to Japan over the weekend as it neared U.S. airspace after authorities discovered a passenger was on a U.S. government’s no-fly list, the airline said on Tuesday.

The passenger, a male U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin travelling with four family members, boarded the Korean Air flight in Bangkok on Sunday with a stopover in Inchon in South Korea, an airline official said.

The plane landed early Monday at Narita airport, near Tokyo, where the man was questioned by U.S. authorities.

“The man was the person on the no-fly list but he should not have been on it,” the official said, but he did not offer details as to why the man should not have been on the list.

Five hours into the trans-Pacific flight, and as the plane was nearing U.S. airspace, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration notified the airline that the person was on the no-fly list and the plane “was not going to land in the United States”, the official said.

The man, who was not identified, was allowed to travel to the United States after questioning.