Birthday Prank Gets Flight Diverted

Happy 29th, Christopher Shell
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2012 11:04 AM CDT
Birthday Prank Gets Flight Diverted
Emergency personnel look over a US Airways plane at Philadelphia International Airport, after the plane returned to the airport, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A seriously ill-advised birthday prank may have resulted in a US Airways flight being diverted this morning. The flight took off for Dallas from Philadelphia but was diverted back to Philadelphia, where it was parked in a remote area of the airport and a man was taken off the plane in handcuffs. Initial reports indicated the police got some kind of tip about a threat, but now NBC Philadelphia reports that the plane is safe and the whole thing was a prank played on Christopher Shell, the man who was taken off the plane, who turned 29 today.

The Department of Homeland Security confirms that an anonymous call was placed to the Philadelphia Police Department, warning that Shell was going to smuggle something into Texas. Interestingly, Shell posted about the plane trouble on Facebook apparently from the air, saying he was "disappointed in US Airways" after passengers were told "technical difficulties" required the plane to return to Philly. According to a tweet from NBC Philadelphia, charges will be levied against the prankster: "This is no joke," police said. "Bottom line, it's criminal." (More Philadelphia stories.)

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