Southwest Flight Diverted to Phoenix After Bomb Threat Call

Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013 05:55 PM

By Hillary Mayell

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The phone threat that wound up diverting a Los Angeles to Austin, Texas, flight to Phoenix on Tuesday was a hoax, authorities have determined.

Once the plane landed in Phoenix, the FBI conducted a thorough search of the plane. Nothing threatening was found. Now the FBI is focused on figuring out who made the call.

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The plane had left LAX when the phony bomb phone call was made, claiming that there was an explosive package on board the plane. The caller reportedly specifically cited the Southwest Airlines flight, and made a vague reference to the Taliban.

Los Angeles authorities contacted the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) based at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. Two fighter jets were immediately dispatched to follow the passenger plane until it landed.

The mission of the D-M Air Force Base is to train combatant attack pilots and maintain the ability to deploy them at a moment’s notice. ‘Fly, fight, and win’ in air, space, and cyberspace, sums up the base’s mission.

The 143 passengers on board the diverted Southwest Airlines Flight 2675 plane were quarantined in an airport terminal and interviewed after the plane safely landed on a remote runway at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

An inspection of the Southwest Airlines plane was conducted by agents and police in Phoenix, to include explosives experts, and investigators found no threat to the aircraft,” said Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Los Angeles office, the Los Angeles Times reported.

All baggage was rescreened, and passengers were rerouted. The pilot said the flight was diverted to Phoenix “out of an abundance of caution.”

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Related stories:

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FBI, Homeland Security Warn of Small Airplane Terror Threats

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