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United flight to MSP declares emergency after report of gun

TSA says the men arrested were Air Marshals and the situation should've been avoided.

A flight from Newark, New Jersey on its way to Minneapolis endured an in-flight emergency in which a man on board the plane reportedly had a gun. 

Details are limited, but Patrick Hogan of the Minneapolis Airports Commission tells BMTN that airport police "responded to a call about an individual having a gun on board" United Airlines flight 3531 on Monday. 

Hogan noted that two people were taken into custody after the aircraft landed and they were transferred to the airport's Police Operations Center for questioning by the FBI. 

A statement from the federal Transportation Safety Administration, as obtained by the Star Tribune, says the men arrested were Air Marshals "on official business" on the flight when a flight attendant mistook the marshal for a passenger.

"Protocols for notification of law enforcement presence aboard an aircraft are in place to avoid incidents like this. TSA is working with the airline to determine the specific circumstances in this case," the statement said. 

According to @AviationFlyer on Twitter, who was listening to Air Traffic Control audio, the flight declared an emergency when an Air Marshall displayed his firearm to a flight attendant without first identifying himself with his badge. 

The United Airlines flight was under the operation of Republic Airline, which issued the following statement to BMTN: "The safety and security of our customers and employees is our top priority. We are aware of this incident and are working with investigators."

Get the latest BMTN stories by following on Twitter.

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