R.I. flight diverted to Jacksonville after ‘perceived security threat’


Breeze Airways said an argument between two Providence-bound passengers escalated and resulted in the perceived threat.

A Breeze Airways flight takes off at Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport on May 17, 2023. Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe, File

A Providence-bound flight was diverted to a Florida airport Tuesday afternoon after an argument between two passengers reportedly escalated to a perceived threat.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, Breeze Airways Flight 717 was heading from Orlando to Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport when the flight’s crew reported a “passenger disturbance.” In a statement, Breeze Airways explained that an argument between two passengers escalated and resulted in a “perceived security threat.”

According to local TV station News4JAX, a couple on the flight got into an argument shortly before takeoff. The news outlet reported that the word “bomb” eventually came up during their argument, prompting the captain to divert the plane to Jacksonville about 45 minutes into the flight.

“The guy said, ‘I’ll tell the people that you have a bomb in your bag,’” Rachel Corrigan, a passenger on the flight, told Florida station Action News JAX. “And she said, ‘I’ll tell them you have weapons on you.’”

According to the FAA, the flight landed safely at Jacksonville International Airport around 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

In its statement, Breeze said local law enforcement met the plane upon its arrival and safely deplaned all passengers and crew. Video clips shared by Action News JAX show police officers leading two people off the plane in handcuffs.

Breeze said it provided overnight accommodations for the passengers who were impacted, and the rescheduled flight arrived in Providence on Wednesday.

“Safety is our top priority and we take threats of any kind very seriously,” the airline said. “We are committed to assisting law enforcement with the investigation into this incident.”

The FAA confirmed that it will investigate the incident and referred further inquiries to local law enforcement. Boston.com has reached out to the FBI’s Jacksonville office for comment.

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