Cultural confusion led to the emergency landing of his Kentucky-bound flight in Philly on Thursday.
An Orthodox Jewish teen’s tefillin — a small black box containing prayers — was deemed a security threat on a U.S. Airways Express flight from LaGuardia to Louisville.
When the 17-year-old put on his tefillin, which is strapped to the forehead, arm and fingers during prayers, crew alerted the pilot, said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan. “It is something they have never seen before,” he told reporters.
The teen explained the ritual, but the pilot put the plane down, reporting a man with “wires” on board.
Police and Transportation Security Administration guards evacuated its 15 passengers and three crew. The plane was searched.
FBI agents interviewed the teenager, who was traveling with his 16-year-old sister, and cleared him to continue his trip.