COLUMBUS, Ohio (CBSDFW/AP) – An Ohio airport spokeswoman says a bomb threat led to passengers being evacuated from a plane that landed in Columbus after a departing from Texas Monday morning.
Angie Tabor, with the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, said the threat was made before American Airline flight 302 landed at Port Columbus at 11:56 a.m. Monday on a regularly scheduled flight from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Tabor said passengers and five crew members were evacuated from the plane, a Boeing MD80, which was parked away from the airport terminal according to airport procedures.
As part of standard operating procedure, passengers were thoroughly checked after getting off the plane and before being allowed to continue on. “Passengers will be initially screened out on the airfield and then brought into the terminal for re-screening.” said Tabor.
Thomas Baggett Jr., one of the passengers on-board, said the pilot stopped the plane on the taxiway and announced to passengers there was an “operational anomaly.”
Baggett says they were never told about the potential bomb threat, but he said, “People were checking their cell phones for social media and local media, and that’s when people started talking that there was a threat to the airplane.” Baggett said there was never any official announcement, but other passengers mentioned a note found in the plane’s restroom indicating there was a bomb on-board.
Within minutes of landing, Baggett said police and fire engines surrounded the plane and passengers were told to collect their carry-on luggage and exit the plane. Passengers were taken to the customs area, where they remained for about an hour, and their bags were left on the tarmac to be checked by bomb sniffing dogs, according to Baggett.
Columbus Police pulled one of the passengers from the crowd, before sending the rest of the passengers on their way, Baggett said. He praised the crew and police for the way the situation was handled and said he felt informed throughout the threat. “I felt they gave us timely and accurate information when they could.”
Airport police, the Transportation Security Administration, the FBI and the Columbus Bomb Squad are all investigating.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. CBSDFW.com contributed to this report.)
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