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Man Charged In Hoax That Led To Plane’s Recall

A man has been charged with making a hoax threat that led authorities to recall a plane in midair to the Philadelphia airport.

US Airways Plane At Philadelphia International Airport
US Airways Plane At Philadelphia International Airport (WCAU TV)

Federal authorities charged 26-year-old Kenneth W. Smith Jr. with conveying false and misleading information.

According to a criminal complaint, Smith called police at the airport on Thursday and falsely reported a passenger was carrying an explosive substance.

Authorities then recalled a Dallas-bound US Airways flight to Philadelphia. Passenger Christopher Shell was taken off the plane at gunpoint by law enforcement officers, who later said Shell did nothing wrong.

Smith is scheduled for an initial appearance in federal court on Friday afternoon. The investigation is continuing.

WPVI TV reports that Smith freely admitted making the hoax call because suspect Christopher Shell had posted a compromising picture of his girlfriend, Shell’s ex, on his Facebook page.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and possible restitution.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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