An accidental report of a hijacking prompted authorities to surround a Los Angeles-bound JetBlue flight on the tarmac in New York City Tuesday evening.
Flight 1623 was on the ground at John F. Kennedy International Airport, with a scheduled departure of 7:30 p.m. (EDT), when the pilot tried to alert the control tower that the aircraft’s radio wasn’t working, but he instead keyed in a code signaling a hijacking, law enforcement sources told the New York Post.
Police, firefighters and ambulances scrambled to the scene but after a check of the plane, the flight departed at 11:23 p.m. and was due to land at Los Angeles International Airport at 2:28 a.m. (PDT) Wednesday, The Post reported.
“Shortly before departure, Flight 1623 from New York JFK to Los Angeles experienced a radio issue impacting the crew’s ability to communicate and a false alarm was sent to JFK tower,” JetBlue spokeswoman Paula Acevedo said in a statement, the newspaper reported.
“While communication was re-established via alternate channels, authorities responded in an abundance of caution. The aircraft was cleared and returned to the gate for inspection.”
A passenger on the plane tweeted that “10 heavily armed cops boarded plane,” which spent 90 minutes on the runway before it was towed back to the gate.