United flight forced to divert after suspicious bag, bomb threat note found in bathroom

The Federal Aviation Administration reported a security issue that caused a United Airlines flight to Los Angeles to be diverted.

Flight 1533 made an emergency landing at O’Hare Airport in Chicago after the Boeing 787 left Newark Liberty International Airport Wednesday morning, WLS-TV reported.

Law enforcement and airline sources told the news station that a passenger “physically tangled with crew members and others on the flight” amid reports of a “bomb” threat.

WLS reported:

It happened while the jetliner was airborne and classified as a “Level Two” threat-which is how the FAA refers to a passenger who physically engages others on the aircraft. The situation escalated when the word “bomb” was found in one of the cabin bathrooms, according to sources with knowledge of what happened.

Authorities diverted to O’Hare where there was a Plan One emergency landing with police, fire trucks and ambulances in place.

 

“United flight 1533 diverted to Chicago this morning due to a potential security concern. The flight landed safely and met local law enforcement upon arrival. Customers deplaned and we expect the flight to depart for Los Angeles later this afternoon,” United Airlines said in a statement.

A bomb-sniffing K-9 reportedly found one suspicious bag which was moved away by a robot, according to CBS 2 News which added that the FBI is investigating the incident. A note was also found in the bathroom stating the plane would blow up, according to police.

Passengers recounted the tense moments of their trip.

“We were told in air only that a situation forced the diversion,” columnist Ian O’Connor posted on X.

“The threat was revealed to us when the plane was parked and police and fire trucks started closing in,” he added. “All off safely. Made for a tense final 40 minutes in air but crew did a good job being firm and urgent without showing panic.”

“They didn’t even announce anything to start,” Richard Fickling told WLS. “I got a notification on my watch that said my flight was being diverted to Chicago and then everybody in the cabin started looking at each other trying to figure out what was going on. We could feel we were starting to descend. I looked on the seatback map that the new destination as Chicago and then finally after like 15 minutes the pilot came on the radio or on the PA and said there was a situation and that we had to descend.”

The emergency landing came soon after a report that another United flight had to be diverted.

On a flight from San Francisco to Boston, a passenger noticed damage on the wing of the plane.

Frieda Powers

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