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Tuesday, February 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Authorities: Passenger’s homemade lasers caused smoky smell on flight

A passenger who carried two small, homemade lasers onto a Seattle-bound jet may be to blame for the commercial aircraft’s emergency landing in Spokane.

Authorities say Alex Philip Langloys Miller, an unemployed chemist from Minneapolis, used the lasers to burn holes in seat fabric on the Boeing 737 during the Thursday flight, creating the smoky smell that caused the flight crew to fear a dangerous electrical fire might be smoldering somewhere inside the aircraft. Miller was arrested by FBI agents after the jet, a regularly scheduled Minneapolis-to-Seattle flight operated by Sun Country Airlines, landed at Spokane International Airport.

Investigators found the lasers, which Miller reportedly told agents he built himself, and several burn holes near his assigned seat. Federal prosecutors said Friday they’ll seek a grand jury indictment this month charging Miller with willful damage to an aircraft but didn’t object to U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rogers releasing him on $10,000 bond.

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