Atlanta Airport Reopens After No Bombs Are Found on Threatened Planes

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Atlanta Airport Reopens After No Bombs Are Found on Threatened Planes.

(Reuters) – Bomb threats against two U.S. airline flights on Saturday prompted North American air defence fighter planes to scramble to accompany them to their destination in Atlanta, an airport spokesman said.

ATLANTA — Part of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was closed on Saturday while the authorities investigated bomb threats, posted online, against two commercial jetliners that were passing through the airport, the world’s busiest.ATLANTA (AP) — Law enforcement officials found no bombs on two planes at Atlanta’s main airport after authorities received what they considered credible threats, FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett said.Bomb threats made on social media caused two planes to be escorted by NORAD fighter jets to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and searched by police and a bomb squad. “The FBI confirmed that the threats were made via Twitter.

No explosives were found on the planes, operated by Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines, but the episode offered an example of the sensitivity with which the authorities address such threats and how they can abruptly cause chaos. 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. The North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled fighter jets from McEntire Joint National Guard Base in South Carolina, said NORAD spokesman Preston Schlachter. 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.’” The passengers deplaned from their flights and had their carry-on bags searched by bomb-sniffing dogs.

Upon landing, the Southwest Airlines flight taxied to a remote area where the passengers and the aircraft were rescreened, company officials said in a statement. “Our top priority is the safety of our customers and employees,” Southwest officials said. “We cannot comment on the nature of the security situation.” In what the F.B.I.’s top agent in Atlanta described as “a serious security breach,” officials said the 31-year-old man had repeatedly smuggled weapons through security checkpoints and into carry-on baggage on flights to New York. Afterthat incident, local officials pledged to improve security at the airport, which handled more than 94 million passengers in 2013 and has for years held the distinction of being the busiest in the world.

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