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TSA: Passenger allowed to board plane with 2 box cutters, security technology not 'fully used'

The passenger was taken into custody by FBI and local law enforcement after the Tampa flight was diverted to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

TAMPA, Fla. — A flight headed to Tampa was diverted to Atlanta Friday night when a passenger on board the plane was reportedly found with a box cutter, Frontier Airlines said in a statement.

The flight left Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) at 7:23 p.m. However, the authorities elected to divert to the plane to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) after a disturbance involving a disruptive passenger, in possession of a box cutter, ensued.

TSA says the cockpit was secured and passengers were deplaned after arriving in Atlanta just before 9 p.m. All passengers were deplaned and were provided an overnight hotel accommodation in Atlanta.

The passenger in question was taken into custody by FBI and Atlanta law enforcement upon their arrival, the airline said.

Following a search of the passenger, a second box cutter was discovered in his carry-on, according to TSA. 

TSA told 10 Tampa Bay in a news release on Sunday that the passenger was able to go through airport security because his property was not properly screened. After reviewing security cameras, TSA says the image review capabilities of their CT technology were not fully used.

The passenger did receive a physical search and one box cutter was discovered. "The visible blades were removed from the box cutter and provided back to the passenger," TSA wrote. 

"This is contrary to (the) standard operating procedure which requires these items to be placed in checked bags or voluntarily abandoned. The backpack containing the other box cutter, and the remainder of the traveler’s property, was screened for explosives, but the box cutter was not discovered."

One person who spoke to our sister station, WXIA, said his wife was on the flight. He told reporters that she said she was scared and that Frontier was not communicating with passengers about the incident. 

"I don't know how a guy like that gets on a plane," Aaron Burgess said. "I mean, there's supposed to be so many, you know, barriers to entry on to a plane. And how does that happen? I mean, that's crazy."

There were no reported injuries to passengers or crew members on board of Flight 1761, however, the delay pushed passengers' arrival to Tampa to Saturday morning.

Flight-tracking data shows the plane landed around 10:30 a.m. at Tampa International Airport.

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