"Bob" or Bomb?

From: Alex@foogle.fargle (Alex)

Date: Wed, Jul 28, 2004 8:44 AM


A note denoting sexiest person on LA-bound flight may have caused emergency
Updated at 5:25 on July 28, 2004, EST.

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - A note indicating the most attractive person on
board may have triggered an aviation alert that forced a Los
Angeles-bound flight to turn back to Sydney, Australia on Tuesday.

United Airlines Flight 840, carrying 246 passengers including a senior
U.S. diplomat was turned around 90 minutes after takeoff Tuesday and
returned to Sydney after a flight attendant found the letters "B O B"
written on an air sickness bag in one of the Boeing 747's toilets.
Flight crews commonly use the letters as an abbreviation for "Bomb On
Board," and the captain decided to go back after learning of the find.

However, police who searched the plane found no bomb and flight
attendants in Australia have said the letters are also commonly used for
"Best On Board," referring to the most attractive passenger.

"A BOB could mean both things . . . I certainly can understand it could
be taken as bomb on board as well," said Michael Mijatov, from the
Flight Attendants Association.

Transport Minister John Anderson, speaking to Nine network television on
Wednesday, said the flight's pilot was right not to take any risks.

"In circumstances like that I don't think either you, I or any of our
listeners would be too keen to pass judgment on the person who had to
make (this decision)," he said.

Anderson conceded an investigation may never discover who wrote the note
or why.

"It may have been a genuine and serious misunderstanding," he said.
"Nonetheless someone has been irresponsible at least and horrendously
selfish and stupid at worst and every effort will be made to find the
person responsible."

The alert forced the closure of roads around the airport and all flights
in and out of Australia's busiest airport were suspended.

The Sydney Airport Corporation confirmed that a senior American diplomat
was on board the plane and that special measures were taken to protect
the individual. It declined to identify the individual.

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