Saturday, January 24, 2015

FBI: All clear given after bomb threats on Atlanta bound planes

ATLANTA — UPDATE: FBI Special Agent in Charge says both aircraft have been swept and cleared. They are finishing searching the last pieces of luggage. So far, he says nothing suspicious has been found. 

The FBI says they plan to sweep online feeds and WiFi from the planes to track down who made the threats.


Bomb threats are causing delays at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Channel 2's Mark Winne learned that NORAD fighter jets escorted two airline flights into the airport due to credible threats of bombs on board.

The Atlanta airport told Winne that Delta flight 1156 from Portland, Oregon, and Southwest flight 2492 from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, were affected by the threats.

Channel 2's Mark Winne confirms the threats were made on Twitter.

Both planes have landed safely and are sitting on the taxiway waiting to be swept by the Atlanta police bomb squad.

FBI officials say the passengers on both flights will be interviewed and searched before they are allowed to leave the area.

Sources told Winne all air traffic south of runway 27 left is being halted so there will be delays.

Southwest Airlines released the following statement Saturday afternoon:

"Due a security situation, the aircraft operating Flight 2492 was taken to a remote area of the airport where Customers and the aircraft are being rescreened. Our number one priority is the Safety of our Customers and People. We cannot comment on the nature of the security situation." 

Delta PIO Morgan Durrant told Channel 2 Action News there is always an ongoing concern about security. He said he couldn't comment on the threats.

He said Delta flight 1156  was taken to a taxi way of the airport to have officials sweep the plane for security . He said the plane was inbound to Atlanta from Portland. He said they would re-book passengers that needed connections.  He is working to find out how many people were on the flight.

“Credible” bomb threats were made over social media Saturday against two flights bound for Atlanta, an airport spokesman said.

The flights landed safely after being escorted into Atlanta by military fighter jets.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport spokesman Reese McCrainie told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at 3 p.m. that both flights — Delta 1156 and Southwest 2492 — had landed and were sitting on a taxiway waiting to be swept by the Atlanta police Bomb Squad.

McCranie would not say how the threats were received, only that, “we believe the threats to be credible.”

While authorities have not yet verified the threatening tweets, someone calling himself “King Zortic” first posted messages to Delta on Twitter that said, “I have a bomb on one of your planes, but I forgot which one when I left the airport. Can you help me find it?,” and “It was from Portland to Atlanta, I forgot the flight number, though. It was something like DL156 or DL 1556 I forgot the order.”

Another tweet read, “It was smuggled through one of the back entrances because the airport didn’t have much security around one of the entrances so the bomb is at the back of the plane. Everyone will know when it’s detonated.”

Messages later were sent to Southwest Airlines from the same Twitter account read, “A bomb was placed on SWA2492. It will be detonated at a random time of my choosing,” and “If anything happens to me I’ll make sure that more flights are targeted. I strongly suggest you don’t try anything stupid.”

FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that NORAD scrambled military fighter jets to escort the two planes to Atlanta after the threats were made.

The passengers were being removed from the planes, and Runway 27L has been closed, McCranie said.

The passengers were taken off the Delta flight, arrived from Portland, Ore., first, and at 4:45 p.m., passengers were being taken off the Southwest plane, which arrived from Milwaukee, Wisc. Bomb-sniffing dogs were seen checking the passengers and their carry-on bags as they deplaned.

Witnesses reported seeing multiple emergency vehicles on the tarmac, and the Federal Aviation Administration said just before 3 p.m. that departing flights were experiencing gate holds and delays of up to 30 minutes due to a bomb threat.

In recent days, unfounded bomb threats have been made against Delta flights bound for Raleigh, N.C., and Tel Aviv.

Story, video and photo:

Passengers are taken off a Delta plane on a taxiway at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after a bomb threat was received against the flight. WSB-TV photo.

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