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A Slovenian passenger was in Italian police custody after he made a false bomb threat that grounded an Austrian plane at the Rome airport for almost 2½ hours Wednesday, the airline and authorities said.

No bomb was found aboard Niki Aviation Flight 8471, which was scheduled to carry 82 passengers from Rome's Fiumicino airport to Vienna, Austria, the airline said. Italian newspapers quoted authorities as confirming that nothing suspicious was found.

The newspapers La Stampa and La Repubblica reported that the flight was stalled about 7:50 p.m. (1:50 p.m. ET) after a passenger noticed what appeared to be a pedometer in a fellow passenger's hand.

The passenger alerted the pilot after the suspect, described as a 40-year-old man from Slovenia, allegedly said, "It is a remote control to detonate a bomb."

The plane was evacuated, and all luggage was passed through a metal detector. The flight eventually took off for Vienna after a two-hour, 46-minute delay.


— M. Alex Johnson