April 28th, 2010
06:11 PM ET

Competency tests ordered for suspect in flight diversion

[Updated at 6:06 p.m.]  A federal magistrate ordered a competency evaluation Wednesday for the former Air Force intelligence specialist accused of making false bomb threats that diverted an international commercial flight.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret J. Kravchuk ordered the evaluation at the request of the public defender representing Derek Stansberry at a short hearing in Bangor, Maine.

Read the full CNN.com story


[Updated at 1:48 p.m.] The man accused of causing a Delta Air Lines flight to be diverted after claiming to have explosives on board is facing charges related to that claim and interfering with a flight crew, according to court documents released Wednesday.

The affidavit supporting the federal complaint says Derek Stansberry passed a note to the flight attendant on Delta Flight 273 Tuesday saying that he was not an American citizen and had a fake passport and other false documents.

Stansberry is a former Air Force intelligence specialist, military officials said. He was scheduled to appear in federal court in Maine on Wednesday.

[Posted at 9:01 a.m.] Derek Stansberry, the passenger whose alleged claim that he had explosives on board a plane forced it to land early, told authorities he had taken a sleeping pill, a federal law enforcement source told CNN Wednesday.

Stansberry served in the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence specialist for four years, Air Force officials said.

Delta Air Lines Flight 273, which was heading from Paris, France, to Atlanta, Georgia, was diverted to Bangor, Maine, on Tuesday afternoon after the man made the explosives claim, law enforcement officials said.

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soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Seth

    To bad he didn't take enough of them......

    April 28, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. J. Jones

    Sounds like a clear case of acting before thinking and then trying to recant with the first "stupid" excuse you can think of.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Vilai

    This sentence reads terribly.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. Shelby

    Mr. Stansberry, should be made to pay for landing/take off slot of where his plane was forced to land and the cost of the TSA personnel/hour who had to deal with him. That will be the most expensive sleeping pill he will have ever taken. Maybe if he was made to pay all that money he will stay awake on his next flight!!

    People seem to listen when they have to shell out cash. Just a thought.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. steve loring

    Start using parachutes for unruly passengers.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. David

    This claim of his isn't as far fetched as I'm guessing some of you reading this story thinks it is. If he took ambien it can have very strange side effects. You can end up doing things you don't remember doing and you could actually end up acting out your dreams or nightmares. If this was the case I would wonder why of all the dreams he could have that he had a dream that he had explosives (as opposed to dreaming he was on a bad flight).

    April 28, 2010 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. cyama

    I hope people stop blaming every bad happening on muslims as some did yesterday by posting comments about this news and now today we learned that passenger is not a muslim.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. tonyS

    Let him make full restitution to the airlines and police, and then he can have a suspended sentence. The sleeping pill: priceless

    April 28, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. Chris

    Really David? He just happened to be dreaming of having a bomb on a plane and "acted" it out? Dumbest comment EVER! Total fail sir.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nita

    David's comment may not be as far fetched since this man completed a number of tours in Iraq. So who knows what internal issues he may be dealing with.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. james bopp

    What ever happened to the second health care bill? That's the one designed to "fix" the mistakes in the first bill, like all the perks & special deals for a few states in order to buy votes.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  12. Guac

    I'm a physician, and this sounds plausible to me. The first time I ever took Ambien (a sleeping pill) was on a France-to-US flight and I hallucinated the entire trip, rambling on and on about marionettes in the first class cabin...thank God my wife was with me!

    April 28, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. Chelsea William

    This is weird? And what is this actually saying? I don't really get it!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    April 28, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. ROCKWOOD

    In 1995 I took a tour to Italy. I asked my Dr. for something to help me with anxiety on the flight. She gave me a prescription for these little tiny pills. I don't remember anymore the name of the medication. I followed her instructions, and about 25 minutes after take-off, I passed out. I did, however, make it to Italy the next day, after United sent me to a hotel in NYC to sleep off the medications, they called me and even sent someone to get me at the hotel to put me on a flight to Rome, where Alitalia shipped me off to Milan. To this day I hardly remember any of it. On the way back to the U.S. I had the same flight attendants and they told me the story of my 'adventure.' Basically they thought I was drunk, which really makes them mad, but quickly realized I'd taken the medication that was in my little bag I was carrying. Between United Airlines and Alitalia they took very good care of me and treated me with great respect.....even though I was passed out.....literally. Do I think this guys story is plausible....maybe a lil, but it would seem that if they were sleeping pills, he'd of passed out.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. Albert

    Yep!!!!!!! Sure it will be a short article because his name does not sound like a Muslim name. Otherwise, ...

    April 28, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
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