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Flight is diverted when passenger is seen with box cutter, airline says

A Frontier Airlines flight from Cincinnati to Tampa, Florida, was diverted to Atlanta late Friday after a passenger was seen with a box cutter, the airline said.

No injuries were reported, and the plane landed safely at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where the passenger, who was not publicly identified, was taken into custody by Atlanta police, Jennifer F. de la Cruz, a Frontier spokesperson, said in an email.

“All passengers have deplaned the aircraft and are being provided overnight hotel accommodations in Atlanta,” she said. “A new flight has been scheduled for tomorrow morning to transport passengers from Atlanta to their final destination of Tampa.”

Tim Turner, a spokesperson for the Atlanta airport, said the passenger, a man whose name he did not know, had been threatening to stab passengers and crew members on the airplane.

Authorities found the box cutter on the man after he was in custody, Turner said, and on Saturday afternoon, the Transportation Security Administration said a second box cutter had been found in the man’s carry-on bag.

Officials at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, where the flight originated, did not respond to requests for comment.

The Atlanta Police Department said it had helped the FBI detain the suspect and referred additional questions to the bureau, which did not immediately comment Saturday.

It was not immediately clear how the man had been able to get a box cutter onto the airplane. The TSA, which has authority over security and passenger screening at U.S. airports, said box cutters were prohibited in the cabin but allowed in checked luggage.

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The agency said it had started an internal review of what happened by looking at camera footage and airport security checkpoint operations.

“The situation with the Frontier flight is under investigation with the U.S. attorney’s office, as they are the lead federal agency in this matter,” said Patricia Mancha, a TSA spokesperson.

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