A Copa Airlines flight bound for Tampa, Florida, was diverted after a diaper on board was mistaken for a bomb, Panama’s national police said on X on Friday. Flight CM393 departed Panama City on Friday at 9:44 a.m. and turned back when cabin crew was alerted to the suspected bomb.
“The Special Forces units activated the emergency protocol, and verified it turned out to be a disposable adult diaper,” Panama’s national police wrote in the post in Spanish, adding that it was alerted by the local civil aviation authorities of “a foreign object on an airline.”
Photos posted on X — the platform formerly known as Twitter — by Panama’s national police showed a disposable diaper placed on top of a black plastic bag.
Luego de una alerta por el @aacivilpty, de un objeto extraño en una aerolínea las unidades de Fuerzas Especiales activaron el protocolo de emergencia y al ser verificado resultó ser un pañal desechable de adulto. #Prevención pic.twitter.com/n3pBqQZki9— Policía Nacional (@ProtegeryServir) October 13, 2023
The flight’s 144 passengers disembarked in Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport as authorities checked the plane for signs of a bomb on board. The diaper was found in one of the plane’s lavatories, Jose Castro, the airport’s head of security, told the Associated Press.
“We had it on a secure runway where police special explosives canine units and special forces examined the object, and found it to be an adult diaper, ruling out any risk,” Castro said.
It’s not the first time an item left behind in a lavatory has been mistaken for a bomb. In 2015, an Air France flight bound for Paris was diverted after an object made of cardboard, sheets of paper, and a timer was mistaken for an explosive.
Copa Airlines and Panama’s national police did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider sent outside regular office hours.