Report: 12 passengers arrested after diverted Northwest flight lands

Just across on Fox. There have been no fewer than three false alarms in the past ten days or so, and this’ll probably be number four. Although this is the first of them to involve actual arrests.

The flight took off from the Netherlands and was turned around after reports of “suspicious bevavior” onboard. Here’s the AP report. Possibly significant: the destination was Mumbai. Also possibly significant: the pilot requested an escort from fighting jets while returning to the airport. The flight that was diverted to Boston last week also got an escort, though, so that might be SOP at this point.

Stand by for updates.

Update: Confirmation of the arrests. They’re not raising the national terror alert.

Update: Evidently it was U.S. air marshals onboard who were suspicious. Fox has a tip that the passengers’ behavior involved cell phones.

Update: Who knows?

A U.S. passenger named Alpa, who did not wish to use her last name, told AP television reporters she had seen police handcuff and remove around 11 men of south Asian appearance from the plane before other passengers. She said she didn’t see what happened but heard from other passengers the men had aroused suspicion by getting out their mobile phones.

Update: Mary K is following this too.

Update: Walid Phares says all 12 who were arrested were using their cell phones after the plane took off. Not sure what his source is for that.

Update: The AP says they weren’t just using the cell phones, they were passing them around to each other.

Update: Not exactly related, but related enough:

Over 50 percent of Transportation Security Officers at Orlando’s International Airport have failed tests that determine whether a bomb is in a passenger’s bag, according to aviation sources…

The test, called TIPS, Threat Image Protection System, is performed while officers are on the job. While screening passenger bags, a TIPS test image is randomly displayed on the baggage checking screen amongst images of the bags that are being checked…

Many officers are missing the test images all together.