Security breach grounds flight in Philadelphia

Passengers are removed from a plane following reports of an unidentified person helping to load it

Published October 7, 2010 5:01PM (EDT)

Transportation security officials removed passengers from a Bermuda-bound flight Thursday at Philadelphia International Airport after reports that someone was helping to load the plane without a security badge.

Passengers were taken off packed US Airways Flight 1070 after what airport officials called a security concern raised by the airline.

US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher confirmed the plane was being searched but would not comment on specifics, citing the ongoing investigation.

Philadelphia police said initial reports indicated the person helping to load the plane was dressed in an airline uniform. The person's whereabouts were unclear, and it was unclear whether the person was loading cargo or passengers.

The plane was towed to a secure area and was being searched, airport spokeswoman Victoria Lupica said.

A passenger on the plane, Amanda Benner, said she and others on board were told "there was a TSA security breach" and were asked to exit the plane through the Jetway and back into the terminal.

"We're in the airport now. They took us off," she told The Associated Press by cell phone. "They told us there was a TSA security breach and we've had to leave everything on the plane and get off. They're re-screening everything on the plane."

There were 12 TSA officers in the area, in addition to Philadelphia police and "all kinds of guys in suits," she said. "They're very stern and serious."

Benner and her husband were en route to Bermuda for a long weekend for their 15th wedding anniversary.

By Randy Pennell

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