LA-bound United flight diverted to Chicago after bomb threat

A United Airlines flight traveling across the country was suddenly diverted to Chicago Wednesday morning when a bomb threat was discovered in the plane’s bathroom, according to officials and a passenger.

More than 200 passengers and crew members were evacuated when the Los Angeles-bound plane that initially took off from Newark Liberty International Airport landed at O’Hare Airport around 7:45 a.m. after a note was discovered in the bathroom claiming the plane would blow up, CBS Chicago reported, citing a preliminary police report.  

The plane was evacuated once it touched down in Chicago on Wednesday. KTLA 5

United Airlines Flight 1533 was inspected by a bomb-sniffing dog that singled out a suspicious bag before it was removed by a robot, the station reported. An airline source told CBS Chicago the K9 tied the bag to the threatening note found in the bathroom.

The Federal Aviation Administration and United Airlines both confirmed the flight was sidetracked due to a “security” concern.

The flight was en route to Los Angeles. KTLA 5

Best-selling author and well-known sports columnist Ian O’Connor, who was on the flight, told The Post Wednesday evening the pilot announced to the cabin there was a “situation” that was forcing them to land in the Windy City. The moments following were “pretty tense.”

Further details weren’t revealed while they were still in the air but flight attendants shouted at a few passengers to sit back down when they tried to go to the bathroom following the pilot’s announcement, O’Connor said.

“One said there would be consequences if that directive wasn’t followed,” he said.

Passengers were told to exit the plane, but could not bring any items with them. KTLA 5

“It got very quiet on the plane,” he said over text while he was on the plane on its way to LAX again. “Your mind can go to some pretty dark places.

“A lot of us just wanted to just get on the ground but when we saw the emergency vehicles with flashing lights waiting for us, never a good sign.”

Once the plane was on the ground, a crew member said over the intercom there was a note in the bathroom claiming a person had a bomb on the plane and law enforcement needed to investigate, he said. Passengers were not allowed to take anything off the plane as they were bussed back to the terminal.

“The pilot had parked the plane a good distance from the terminal for obvious reasons,” said O’Connor, whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Post.

It was not immediately clear if anyone was taken into custody.

“There is no indication that there is an imminent threat to public safety or the facility itself at this time,” the FBI’s Chicago field said in a statement.

Flyers were eventually allowed to grab their bags and take different flights while others got back on the plane after it was cleared to take off again, he said.

Wednesday’s scary scenario was the second time this week a threat was issued against a commercial flight.

Newark Airport police received a report of a threat against Air Canada 8657 around noon on Monday, Port Authority police said.

The plane landed in Newark without incident and all passengers exited the plane before a canine unit cleared the aircraft, authorities said. 

Additional reporting by Amanda Woods and Joe Marino.

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Read More:LA-bound United flight diverted to Chicago after bomb threat

2024-02-22 02:45:00

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