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Sun, Aug 22, 2010

Telephone Threat Delays American Airlines Flight Departure

Anonymous Caller Said There Was A Hijacker On Board

You have to hope that the authorities are able to locate whoever was responsible for this. An American Airlines jet getting set to depart San Francisco to New York was stopped just before takeoff after an anonymous caller told a clerk at a hotel in Alameda, which is across the bay from San Francisco Airport, he intended to hijack the plane.

TSA stopped the plane from departing, and it was moved to a "secure location" away from the terminal on the airport. All of the passengers on board were taken off the plane and re-screened through security. "TSA is aware of an alleged threat made via phone against American Airlines flight 24 (SFO-JFK) before take-off," the government's transportation security agency said in a statement.

Multiple media sources indicate that TSA and the FBI determined that the threat was "not credible".

The flight was already running about two and a half hours behind schedule when the call came. The FBI confirmed that a couple was arrested, but quickly released, and would not discuss why they were singled out. One passenger said he saw them at the American ticket counter with Pakistani passports.

Other passengers were taken off the plane six at a time and rescreened. The couple which was detained told the Associated Press that they were upset that they had been singled out, but that they knew that the police were "just doing their jobs."

The caller reportedly was "almost ranting" to the hotel clerk specifically about hijacking Flight 24. FBI spokesman Joseph Schadler said “We take any threat against an airline or potential terrorist activity very seriously. You treat them like it’s real until proven otherwise because the cost of failure is so high.”

FMI: www.tsa.gov, www.fbi.gov

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