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New Detroit scare declared 'non-serious'

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Second Detroit scare 'non-serious'
  • Incident two days after suspect terrorism attack on same flight
  • NEW: Passenger on Sunday flight questioned by authorities and later released
  • Jet "completely engulfed" by emergency vehicles, witness says
  • Misunderstanding over movie leads to security scare in separate incident

(CNN) -- A security alert aboard a Northwest Airlines jet ended Sunday after investigators determined the incident -- the second in two days involving a Detroit, Michigan-bound flight -- was "non-serious," federal authorities said.

The crew of Northwest Flight 253 reported a "verbally disruptive" passenger Sunday and requested police meet the plane when it arrived from the Netherlands, the airline told CNN. The man was questioned by police after the plane landed in Detroit early Sunday afternoon.

That passenger was released from the custody of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. He was allowed to make a planned connection to an unspecified destination, a spokesman for the Detroit Wayne County Airport Authority said. The passenger's name was not released.

The Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight is the same one targeted Friday in what prosecutors called a failed attempt to blow up a jetliner. Sandra Berchtold, a spokeswoman for the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Detroit, said Sunday's alert was caused by a passenger who "spent a lengthy time in the restroom."

"This raised concerns, so an alert was raised," she said. "JTTF investigated, and the investigation shows that this was a non-serious incident and all is clear at this point."

The passenger spent about an hour in the bathroom and got upset when he was questioned by the crew of the flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, according to government sources. Law enforcement agents questioned the man Sunday.

Video: Obama informed of new flight scare

The jet had the same designation -- Flight 253 -- as the one on which a Nigerian man is accused of attempting to set off an explosive device Friday, said Scott Wintner, a spokesman for the Wayne County Airport Authority. Winter told CNN the flight "requested emergency assistance and was pulled aside upon arrival in Detroit."

The jet was taken a long distance from the terminal and "completely engulfed" by emergency vehicles and heavily armed police once it landed, said Don Graham, who was waiting for relatives to arrive at the airport.

The flight arrived about 12:34 p.m., said Susan Elliott, a spokeswoman for Delta Air Lines, which owns Northwest. The 257 passengers were allowed to leave the aircraft about an hour after the jet landed, she said.

Sunday's strong security response -- with emergency vehicles converging on the plane and President Obama being notified immediately -- showed how the failed bombing on Christmas Day had shaken the nation.

Meanwhile, a movie clip and two men watching it led to a security scare aboard a jetliner Saturday night heading to Phoenix, Arizona, authorities said.

Police and federal agents greeted US Airways Flight 192 as it landed at Sky Harbor Airport after passengers reported two men on the plane were acting suspiciously on the trip from Orlando, Florida.

Transportation Security Administration spokesperson Suzanne Trevino said the two men were detained as K-9 units swept the plane. Nothing was found.

FBI spokesman Manuel Johnson said a combination of behavior caused passengers to be concerned, including the men talking loudly and one man standing up when the stay-seated light was on. Johnson said the men, described to the FBI by passengers as being "Middle Eastern" in appearance, were watching a movie clip of what appeared to be a suicide bomber.

It turned out to be the movie "The Kingdom," starring Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner. The 2-year-old film is about FBI agents investigating a mass murder in Saudi Arabia, according to the movie's Web site.

Johnson said the men were released when their story checked out, and they were allowed to travel on to San Diego, California.

CNN's Mike M. Ahlers, Alona Rivord, Miguel Susana, Steve Brusk and Lynn Lamanivong contributed to this report.