An Israeli tourist set off a massive security panic at Newark Airport and grounded a plane to Miami yesterday after his family was bumped from a flight and he angrily threatened to create a bomb scare, officials said.
The tourist was charged with “creating a false public alarm” after he allegedly flew into a rage at a United Airlines counter and started a chain of events that put security on high alert and delayed travelers for hours.
The trouble started at about 9 a.m. after the 44-year-old tourist arrived from Tel Aviv with his wife and two kids and was told that his connecting flight to Florida was oversold.
He grew outraged as he learned his bags had already been loaded and couldn’t be removed, and made a comment to a United worker that worried security.
“I’m going to go over there and tell the TSA I put a bomb in my bag and get my bag back,” the tourist allegedly fumed, according to sources.
After ranting about the “bomb,” the tourist and his family vanished into the crowd. At one point, about a dozen officers were looking for them, one source said.
Cops caught up to the clan two terminals away and arrested the tourist as he and his family tried to board an American Airlines flight to Florida, a Port Authority spokesman said.
The United flight, which had been slated to leave at 9:11 a.m., was delayed nearly three hours. The 167 passengers and six crew members had to return to the gate while the plane was inspected.
Passenger Shari Sentlowitz said the plane had already pulled out of the gate when the pilot announced they were going back.
“He said there was an issue with a checked bag and that as soon as the bag was located we would be on our way,” Sentlowitz told The Post. “We were towed to a remote area of the tarmac, and all of the checked bags were removed and sniffed by dogs.”
Sentlowitz said passengers were then taken away in groups of 20 and put on a bus while the plane was swept.
“Everything was done orderly. We were kept informed for the entire two hours,” she said.
“A Port Authority officer did say a gentleman was bumped off the flight and was angry that his bags were on the way to Miami and told them there was a bomb in the bags.
“I was happy that the incident was handled professionally and they kept us informed. If they didn’t tell us what was going on I am sure I would have felt different.”
Also at Newark yesterday, a Hoboken man, Thomas Foley, was arrested and charged with creating a false public alarm after he made a reference to a shoe bomb during a check-in for a United flight to Chicago.
“He said, ‘You idiots didn’t catch it the last time, you’re not going to catch it this time,’ ” a source recounted. Foley was released on his own recognizance.
Source: THE NEW YORK POST