An American Eagle flight from from Houston to Los Angeles International Airport landed safely at LAX Tuesday after a “non-credible” threat was received, prompting a large-scale response by fire crews and police, with armed SWAT officers sweeping through the cabin before passengers were allowed to disembark.
The Embraer 175 jetliner, with 67 passengers and four crew members aboard, landed safely at 8:43 a.m. on Runway 25 Left, and was directed to park at the remote west end of the airfield, said LAX spokeswoman Nancy Suey Castles.
A portable stairway was brought to the aircraft, but passengers were forced to stay aboard for more than an hour before authorities began emptying the aircraft.
The flight was operated by Compass Airlines, a sub-carrier, according to American Airlines, which released the following statement late this morning:
“American Eagle Flight 5931 operated by Compass Airlines, from Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Los Angeles International Airport, received a non-credible threat this morning. It landed without incident … Out of an abundance of caution, LAX authorities are screening the flight. We hope to have our passengers on their way soon.”
After the aircraft landed, an armed SWAT team boarded the aircraft, and following a preliminary sweep of the interior, passengers were allowed to get off the airplane starting about 10 a.m. via the portable stairway.
Bomb-sniffing dogs met the passengers at the bottom of the stairway to check them before they were allowed to board shuttle buses. The passengers were taken by the airline via buses to American-leased terminals to catch connecting flights or end their travel.
Law enforcement personnel from a number of agencies, some with bomb- sniffing dogs, were deployed in the vicinity of the aircraft, and firefighters were put on standby as a precaution.
“While an assessment is always conducted following a threat, there is no known credible threat to the aircraft or passengers at this time,” Laura Eimiller of the FBI said late this morning. “Airport officials will conduct render safe procedures as a precaution. An investigation to determine the person or group responsible for making the threat is ongoing.”
Authorities did not release details of the threat. But KNX Newsradio, citing unnamed sources, reported that it involved claims that at least two men with guns and explosives were aboard the aircraft.
—City News Service
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