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. martraco

    No doubt it was a Muslim sleeping pill.

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

    This is the shortest news I have ever read.

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

    In 1977, I had a flight from Atlanta. I was mortified of flying and had many drinks. A friend gave me a nerve pill, perhaps to give me the nerve to fly. To make a long story short, by the time I got to Newark, I was a blithering idiot. And my bags went to Boston. So, maybe cut the guy some slack?

    April 28, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. Kathy Harris

    Look up AMBIEN on the net. People do not remember what they did. They have sex, drive cars, send emails much like sleep walking. They even paint and cook. ASK TIGER !!

    April 28, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. robert

    Until we hold people accountable, this kind of stupid crap (but serious) will stop. You have to punish, and fine (cost of the unfolding event) people like this. This is not normal, you don't just wake up from a nap on the plane, and think "Bomb". Again, must be punish or you have the revolving door!

    April 28, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sue

    It might sound far fetched, but if you've never served in a war zone, you have no right to judge. PTSD is real, and the effects can be deadly.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. Benj

    Interesting. Some medicine, especially Ambien, can cause hallucinations and sleep disturbances (nightmares and night terrors, slep-walking, etc.) Considering his occupational history and medicine, this is very likely to be truly a result of medication. The question is whether the government decides to side with the drug company or with the patient.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. Fed up

    He was probably frustrated with being forced to sit on the plane for up to 3 hours prior to take off. Hostage taking airlines–pretty scumy business model. Kind of fun to watch them fail–no sympathy.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. mrlgh

    Hang the bastard! LOL

    April 28, 2010 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. John

    I took an ambien on a flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles and hallucinated for about 8 straight hours. Nothing scary but I am sure when I asked the lady next to me why the flight attendant had no face she was a little worried.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. CV

    This Yahoo should not only pay for the landing/take off slot at the airport but should financially compensate EVERY person on the plane that was inconvenienced due to his ignorance.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. brown

    He should talk to his attorney before opening his hole anymore.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. abd

    some keep copying the statement that not all muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are muslims, they seem to like it, what about the seven christian they were planning to kill cops last month, are they christisns but muslims..lol, what about the priests who sleep with kids in the churches are they muslims as well!!!

    April 28, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mr. Justify

    Seems reasonable to me. It's the pills fault just like it's the guns fault if somebody get's shot.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bill

    If his claim is correct then a blood test would show the metabolites of the drug. Sounds to me though it's more likely he's just a moron who thought he was being funny. He should have to suffer some consequences for his actions. It cost the airline a lot of money, and inconvenienced a lot of people.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
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