NASHVILLE - An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning after a passenger lit a match to disguise the odor of flatulence, authorities said.
Other passengers reported the odor of burned matches, but the woman was not forthcoming when asked about it.
The Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur from the matches, said Lynne Lowrance, spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority.
All 99 passengers and five crew members were taken off and screened while the plane was searched and luggage was screened.
The FBI questioned a passenger who [after "lengthy questioning," - from a safe distance] admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a "body odor," Lowrance said. She had an unspecified medical condition, authorities said.
"Of course, she was scared and embarrassed but all the passengers had to disembark, all the luggage had to be searched, a canine team was brought in, and about three hours were consumed in sorting out the situation."
"It's humorous in a way, but you feel sorry for the individual as well," she said. "It's unusual that someone would go to those measures to cover it up."
The flight took off again, but the woman was not allowed back on the plane. The woman, who was not identified, was not charged in the incident.
Passengers are permitted four books of paper safety matches on a plane but cannot light them during flight, Lowrance said.
"I've had calls from people all over the country about this," she said. "And I don't have the answer to this problem."