Flight Diverted for Unattended Camera

United Airlines later identified the owner of the camera.

July 31, 2012, 11:46 PM

Aug. 1, 2012— -- The unattended camera that prompted officials to divert and escort a Switzerland-bound United Airlines flight to Boston has been traced to a passenger on an earlier flight aboard the same plane.

The flight from Newark, N.J., to Geneva was redirected Tuesday evening when a flight attendant discovered the camera stuffed in a sickness bag in a seat-back pocket and could not locate the camera's owner, law enforcement officials and an airline spokesperson said.

The plane landed safely Tuesday night before officials tracked down the camera's owner.

Richard Walsh, media relations representative for Massachusetts Port Authority, confirmed to ABC News that the flight to Geneva is scheduled to take off from Boston's Logan International Airport at 3 p.m. today.

The Boeing 767 has not yet departed Boston and it wasn't clear weather that same plane will be used for the flight to Geneva.

Flight 956 took off from Newark at 6 p.m., with 157 passengers and 11 crew members aboard, according to officials and United's website. Air traffic controllers in Boston received an emergency call two hours into the flight.

"I can't delay him.He's got a big problem. I got to get him in here," one air traffic control official said over the radio. "I got an emergency coming in quick."

The plane was escorted to Boston by two F-15 fighter jets at 9:00 p.m. and landed about 15 minutes later "as a prudent precaution," according to NORAD, or North American Aerospace Defense Command.

But during the flight into Boston, there was another moment of concern: One of the fighter escorts lost its avionics, issued an emergency, but was able to land safely at its home base, NORAD said.

Once the United plane was on the ground, all the passengers were instructed to leave everything on the plane, including their handbags. All passengers were rescreened and the camera was inspected by security agents before officials gave the all clear.

Cameras are an object of concern for counterterrorism authorities. In one of the post 9-11 airline terror plots, terrorists explored using camera bodies either as devices or as part of the mechanism for triggering a bomb.

More recently, ABC News has reported, al Qaeda bombmaker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, who is believed to be behind both underwear bomb plots, was working on new explosives that they hoped would pass an airport security screening. One of those designed reportedly utilized a camera.

ABC News' Matt Hosford and Luis Martinez contributed to this report.

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