A Boeing 747 jet plane belonging to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Photo / Getty
passenger who placed a fake bomb in a bathroom during an international flight and then reported it to look like a hero has avoided a prison term.
Instead, US District Court Judge Michael Mosman sentenced Sean Davies to five years on probation and ordered him to pay restitution to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Prosecutors recommended the sentence because the 23-year-old from coastal Oregon has no prior arrests, has been received treatment for alcoholism and also landed a steady job.
The flight was three hours into a flight from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, when Davies told a member of the cabin crew there was a strange wire coming out of a cabinet in the bathroom, leading to an electrical socket.
The flight captain eventually inspected the miniature wine bottle with some cables attached to it and figured it was probably a prank. But after consulting with KLM security, the plane was diverted to Cairo, Egypt.
Egyptian authorities interviewed Davies because the flight crew suspected him of planting the device. Davies denied involvement and he continued with the trip.The NL Times reported at the time of the October 2014 incident that 271 passengers were aboard the flight and there was no panic.
Davies returned to the US from Africa in December 2014. Dutch police interviewed him while he changed planes in Amsterdam. Davies told them he made frequent trips to the bathroom during the October flight because he is an alcoholic and has kidney stones, and that he no longer had his iPhone charger because it burst into flames while in Africa.
The FBI and Port of Portland police met him when he returned to US soil. He initially agreed to take a polygraph test and then declined. The polygrapher told him the test wasn’t necessary, because it was obvious he was lying.
Davies then confessed, saying he built the fake bomb with a wine bottle, an e-cigarette battery, water, soap, an iPhone charging cord and the earphones distributed on the flight. He said he had been feeling down about himself and wanted to appear heroic.
Davies pleaded guilty in February to conveying false information concerning a device which could destroy or damage an aircraft.
He apologised Thursday to the airline, the passengers, the US Government and his family. Davies said he’s no longer the irresponsible “boy” who committed that act.
“They say you never learn if you don’t make mistakes. While my mistakes have been a little larger than what I would like, I needed to have this kick so I could realise the path I was headed on.”
KLM calculated its losses from the incident to be US$85,330 (NZ$125,105). Davies has already paid half the money.