Foreign aviation students’ in-flight

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Five airline passengers speaking in foreign languages and carrying “aircraft flight materials” were briefly detained Saturday until authorities determined they were simply returning to their home countries after attending a U.S. helicopter training school.

Fellow passengers on American Airlines Flight 1874, which had departed from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, became suspicious of the men, said Steven Siegel, a spokesman for the FBI’s Newark office.

A federal marshal on the plane notified authorities at Newark Liberty International Airport about the men’s behavior.

The men – identified only as four Angolan military personnel and an Israeli – had attended helicopter training school in Texas, Siegel said.

Police officers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport, took the men into custody soon after the plane landed around 3:20 p.m., said a Port Authority spokesman.

After being questioned by authorities, the men were released around 6 p.m., Siegel said.

The plane was carrying 121 passengers and five crew members. All other passengers had been released.

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