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LI Woman Charged With Making Bomb Threat Against Plane Carrying Family

PIX11 NEWSROOM

4:14 PM EDT, September 13, 2011

LAKE RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (PIX11)

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A Long Island woman who was worried about her mother and brother traveling by plane at the same time of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is in police custody Tuesday after she phoned in a fake bomb threat against their jetliner.

According to authorities, Mary Purcell called airport security twice at Tuscon, Arizona early Sept. 10, claiming she had overheard her boyfriend talking about an apparent bomb plot involving Southwest Airlines Flight 2475. Investigators say she made the call from her home in Lake Ronkonkoma.

Airport police took the threat seriously, delaying the New York-bound flight and removing all the plane's luggage while nearly a dozen bomb-sniffing dogs sifted through the aircraft. Passengers were re-screened and swabbed for traces of explosives, federal authorities said.

The calls were later traced by the FBI to a phone registered to Purcell's mother, Margaret Meyer, a passenger on the flight who was traveling with her son William.

An investigation determined Purcell made the phone calls because she was worried about the safety of her mother and brother traveling on the 9/11 anniversary and wanted to delay the flight, officials said.

Purcell was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Long Island Federal Court.