Two Juveniles Detained in Mid-Air Explosive Threat in Alexandria
You would have to imagine that when passengers boarded United Airlines Flight 4344 with service from Jackson Mississippi to Houston Texas there was no inkling about the drama that was about to unfold. The flight left Jackson about 11:30 yesterday morning.
At 12:24 pm the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Department received a 911 call about an aircraft with a midair emergency. That threat suggested there was a possible explosive device onboard the aircraft. Approximately four minutes later the aircraft was safely on the ground at Alexandria International Airport. However, the plane was not taxied to the gate.
Instead, law enforcement officials directed the plane to the far reaches of the tarmac until the threat could be vetted and verified or proven to be false. Passengers were deplaned at that distant location and driven to the terminal. Two potential persons of interest were left behind to have a conversation with authorities.
KALB Television out of Alexandria reported that the two "persons of interest" were actually juveniles. Agents with the New Orleans field office of the FBI confirmed late yesterday that "there was no threat to the public safety".
As there were no devices or explosives found onboard the aircraft, according to the KALB report, an attorney representing the juvenile's families said it was his understanding that no criminal charges would be forthcoming.
United Airlines said that the remaining passengers were allowed to proceed to their destinations. According to a spokesperson for the airline, the flight was diverted from its published flight path because "they were dealing with a customer-related security issue.
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