Hoax victim arrested after flight lands in Dallas

A US Airways plane bound for Dallas was diverted to Philadelphia, and a passenger was removed in handcuffs.

Story highlights

  • Hoax victim arrested on unrelated charges in Texas
  • "This was hoax and a pretty nasty trick was played on this passenger," police say
  • Making false calls affecting a commercial airline is a federal offense
  • Authorities say they expect the caller to be prosecuted

What a birthday.

Just hours after being falsely accused of carrying explosive material onto a plane, Christopher Shell arrived in Dallas after being reboarding a flight from Philadelphia.

When he got to Dallas on Thursday evening, airport police were waiting for the 29-year-old birthday celebrant because he was wanted on outstanding warrants, said David Magana, a spokesman for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

According to CNN affiliates WPVI and WFAA, Magana said that Shell was wanted by several Texas municipalities.

Earlier Thursday, Shell was deemed the victim of a hoax that caused officials to order a US Airways flight on its way to Dallas to return to Philadelphia.

"All indications are that this was hoax and a pretty nasty trick was played on this passenger," Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan said Thursday morning.

He said someone called Philadelphia police and identified a passenger who the caller said was carrying a potentially explosive substance. No dangerous material was uncovered, police said.

    WPVI reported that sources told the station the prank caller dates one of Shell's ex-girlfriends.

    A passenger told WPVI that federal agents stormed the plane, drew their weapons on Shell, pulled him out of his seat and quickly removed him from the plane.

    Richard Quinn, assistant FBI special agent in charge, told reporters that making false calls affecting a commercial airline is a federal offense and it is expected that the caller will be prosecuted.

    Authorities say the Airbus A319, which was carrying 69 passengers, was cleared after all passengers were removed.

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