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FBI rushes to Newark airport after passenger says poison on plane

By David Jones

NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - A passenger who screamed that he had poison aboard a plane that was headed for New Jersey's Newark airport on Monday was taken into custody by FBI agents when the plane landed, law enforcement officials said.

United Airlines Flight 116 was en route from Hong Kong to Newark Liberty International Airport when a passenger "became disruptive," the carrier said.

"A passenger got up and started screaming something to the effect that there was poison" on board, said FBI Special Agent Luis Rodriguez.

He said the passenger was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital for evaluation.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control "cleared the plane," Rodriguez said. He said witnesses were being interviewed by the FBI and Port Authority Police detectives.

United spokeswoman Mary Clark said in a statement that the plane's "crew followed procedures and the flight landed safely and without incident just after 1:30 p.m. Authorities met the aircraft, and the 238 customers deplaned normally at the gate an hour after landing."

Rodriguez declined to confirm media reports that the passenger, who was not publicly identified, claimed to have poisoned others.

"I haven't received any type of information that anybody has gotten sick on that flight," Rodriguez said, adding that the passenger would be questioned by authorities. No further details about the passenger were available, he said.

The flight had originated in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam, and made a scheduled stop in Hong Kong before continuing on to Newark, as planned.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Leslie Adler)

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