(NEW YORK) — Authorities fearing terror in the sky turned around a flight to Madrid shortly after it took off from New York when a federal air marshal spotted suspicious wires in a rear lavatory.
However, after a SWAT team entry, a bomb squad search and the detaining of a woman who may have become ill aboard the plane, no bomb was found.
However, officials discovered two pieces of a drinking straw about an-inch-and-a-half long with wires running through each. No explosive was present.
Authorities involved in the investigation said that while they still had not determined why the straws and wires were placed in the lavatory, it did not appear to even rise to the level of a hoax device made to look like a bomb with no explosive present.
The flight, Delta 126, returned to New York’s JFK airport at 9:33 p.m., authorities said.
It was met by a Port Authority Police SWAT team that did a precision, heavy weapon entry onto the flight because the pilot had radioed the ground on his way back to say that there was a woman aboard who may have been a part of terror team.
The woman, who appeared to have become ill aboard the plane, was held for a time in an ambulance guarded by police.
Though details were still coming to light, it appeared that between the pilot’s call and the fact that the wires were spotted by a member of an armed contingent of federal air marshals aboard the flight, authorities treated the incident as a potentially serious threat.
Passengers were taken off the flight in a “controlled evacuation,” sources told ABC News. They were held in a terminal for questioning.
A law enforcement source told ABC News that after the suspicious items were found, “as precaution, the aircraft returned to JFK and passengers offloaded.”
But when the plane was examined by law enforcement bomb technicians, the items determined to be non-explosive and non-incendiary.
The investigation continued, and passengers and crew were being interviewed by authorities — but, officials stressed, “no one in custody, and there is no determination a crime was committed.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Dylan Byers Sara Murray and Kevin Liptak, CNN
Lauren del Valle, CNN
Jackie Wattles and Amanda Barnett, CNN
Dylan Byers, CNN