FBI investigates Royal Air Maroc incident

The FBI is investigating an incident that forced a Royal Air Maroc aircraft to make an emergency landing in Bangor, Maine on Thursday night.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  February 21, 2004

The FBI is investigating an incident that forced a Royal Air Maroc aircraft to make an emergency landing in Bangor, Maine on Thursday night. Flight 201 was flying from New York to Casablanca when it diverted to Maine following a security scare. Early reports suggested that a passenger had made a bomb threat, but the FBI has now denied this. The passenger involved in the incident, Zubair Ghias, an investment banker, was interviewed by the FBI after the plane landed, but he was not arrested. The plane was able to take off again at about 04:00 after security checks had been made. A Transportation Security Administration spokesperson originally said that the plane landed after a passenger made a bomb threat. However, while the FBI is still investigating the incident, it has ruled this out. "There was no bomb threat made by him (Ghias)," Gail Marcinkiewicz, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Boston, told Reuters. How Ghias ended up on the flight is the subject of the investigation. He disappeared in Chicago last weekend after picking up his six-month pregnant wife on Valentine’s Day in a car brimming with flowers. Ghias then said he was going to do some work in his office, but he never returned. His wife subsquently filed a missing person’s report. Ghias’s car was later found unlocked in a Chicago street and money had gone from his bank account. The police add that he was later seen in New York City making a purchase in a hardware store. Chicago news reports say that the security scare on flight 221 was sparked after Ghias telephoned his family saying he was being kidnapped. "He said 'I have no choice. I'm being forced into doing this... I'm doing it to save my family'," Ernie Rizzo, a private investigator hired by the Ghias family told WBBM Radio. However, a Chicago police detective who was with the family when they received Ghias’s call told the Chicago Tribune that Ghias had not been kidnapped and was not restrained by anyone on the plane.

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