Thursday, August 19, 2010

American Airlines Flight 24 San Francisco Threat

American Airlines Flight 24 was ready for take-off at the San Francisco airport when someone called by phone in a threat against the flight. AA Flight 24 was moved to a remote area of the facility. Passengers will be interviewed and rescreened, as as the plane is swept by local security for suspicious devices. The flight's destination is New York's JFK Airport. The story is breaking. More as available. Source Note that two passengers said the couple removed from the flight had Pakistani passports. See more below.

The flight was scheduled to depart San Francisco at 7:30 a.m. PST this morning, so this has been a very long day for passengers.

At 2:46 p.m. CDT - this minute - Fox is showing passengers just being removed from plane to busses.
The TSA says the threat was not of a hijacking (heard on Fox News)

Update: Two passengers, a man and a woman sitting on one of the back rows of the flight were taken into custody in handcuffed (from Neal Cavuto 3:50 CDT). The New York Post apparently had an article that has now been taken down. The promo on Google said "a young man and a young woman" were taken off the plane" "in cuffs."

From CNN's Just In: American Airlines security told CNN that the threat claimed the flight would be hijacked" but no proof of that yet.

This evening, ABC is saying the threat was a fake, but the threat was a hijacking threat by telephone.
According to ABC News San Francisco affiliate KGO, Alameda, Calif., police said they received a call at 9:09 a.m. from a hotel desk clerk saying he received an anonymous call from an individual with an accent threatening the flight.
"It was a verbal threat and that threat involved hijacking the plane," Sgt. Michael Rodriquez of the San Francisco Police Department Airport Division told . 
Law enforcement agents surrounded the plane and soon boarded through the back door of the craft, passenger Matthew Hoffman told KGO.
He and other witnesses saw two people taken from the plane in handcuffs.
"They came in rather quickly and went straight to the individual sitting in the other side of the plane and spoke to him a little bit, asked him to stand up, asked him if he had any belongings with him," Hoffman said.
The couple told the Associated Press they believed they were picked at random and later were released without charges.
The San Francisco police statement confirmed that no arrests had been made in the incident.
Fellow passengers weren't so sure the removal of their two fellow passengers was random and reported seeing the pair carrying Pakistani passports, the AP reported.
"It definitely seems like it was racial profiling, based on what they look like physically and the fact they are Pakistani," Michael Anderson, 20, a Yale University sophomore who was heading back to school, told the AP. "It seems like this was a false accusation."
So passengers believe this was a case of racial profiling? Someone with a heavy accent calls a hotel desk and says a hijacking is imminent aboard American Airlines Flight 24. Get over it. When a threat comes in, law enforcement has to do the first reasonable thing. The young couple from Des Moines with two small children would likely not be the first focus.

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton