Los Angeles/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on February 21, 2024
Flight FUSS! United Jet Swerves to Chicago After Bomb Scare Brews on Newark-to-LA TrekSource: N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a harrowing turn of events, a United Airlines flight en route to Los Angeles from Newark was abruptly diverted to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport early Wednesday morning following a bomb threat. The incident unfolded after a note suggesting an explosive device was aboard United Flight 1533 was discovered in one of the plane's lavatories, according to KTLA.

The Boeing 787, which had departed Newark Liberty International Airport just after 6 a.m. Eastern Time, was carrying 202 passengers and nine crew members. It landed in Chicago at approximately 7:44 a.m. local time. A passenger conveyed the tense atmosphere, recounting the crew's vague notification of a "situation" onboard. An airline source later confirmed that a bomb-sniffing K-9 had detected something suspicious on a bag that appeared to be linked to the threat, as per an interview with CBS News. Police have been questioning the individual associated with the bag in question.

Upon landing, all passengers were evacuated and the aircraft was moved to a remote location for investigation. "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 issued in a terse statement obtained by NBC Los Angeles.

As authorities delve deeper into this security incident, passengers are left to ponder the series of unsettling aviation occurrences. Notably just the day prior, an American Airlines flight from Albuquerque to Chicago had to return to its departure airport following a passenger disturbance, as reported by the FAA. The back-to-back interruptions to what should have been routine flights underscore a rising tension in the skies that travelers are increasingly having to navigate. This incident remains a developing story, and additional information will be shared as the investigation proceeds.