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Song to Cairo...media says!

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Sep 19, 2004

Series of suspicious finds ground SWFIA flightNBC2 News
Posted on: Wednesday, August 03, 2005

WMP 9 or higher requiredFORT MYERS — A series of suspicious finds led to the grounding and search of a plane at Southwest Florida International Airport Wednesday afternoon.

Officials say three passengers aboard a jet bound for JFK were questioned by TSA and FBI officials after cash, aircraft diagrams and notes in Arabic were found in luggage connected to them.

Atef Wahba, his wife Alice Wahba and Anthony Donato were all questioned at SWFIA as most of the rest of the passengers boarded the jet and continued on to New York.

A records check yielded a Brooklyn address for the Wahba's. The relationship between the Wahba's and Donato, if any, has not yet been disclosed.

The three have reportedly been released.

Officials have also not said which items were found in each person's luggage. But they have confirmed that a large amount of cash and money orders in various denominations were found, along with the notes and diagrams.

An anonymous source inside the airport, who was able to provide the names of those involved as well as the contents of their bags, said authorities were also interested in a videotape found inside the luggage.

Officials have not confirmed they have a videotape.

The anonymous source says that as the plane pulled away from the gate, two bags checked by the group could not be accounted for and that prompted officials to bring the plane back for a closer inspection.

Bomb sniffing dogs scoured the plane, once with passengers aboard and again when they had been removed from the plane, but no explosives were found.

Airport officials say the FBI will handle the case from here.

TSA officials say there was apparently no malicious intent - it was an innocent mistake in a time of heightened tensions about airline security.

Most passengers re-boarded the Boeing 757 for the trip to New York, though some asked to re-book their tickets because they were unnerved by the incident.

The flight, which was supposed to depart at 12:10 p.m., got off the ground at 1:03.

The Song Airlines plane, listed as Delta flight #2068, was bound for Cairo after stopping in New York.

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