A United Airlines flight diverted to Ireland after a handwritten bomb threat was found in one of the aircraft lavatories.
United Flight 971, bound from Rome to Chicago, diverted to Shannon, Ireland after the cryptic message was discovered. The flight landed at 1:42p local time in Shannon. Both police and fire engines met the aircraft, which pulled up to a remote stand. Passengers remained onboard for 40 minutes as an exterior investigation of the aircraft was performed.
In an effort to find out who was responsible for the note, the police took writing samples of every passenger onboard. Both hand baggage and checked baggage was also searched. Passengers were also interviewed after disembarking the plane.
The flight was initially scheduled to continue to Chicago at 4pm. But due to crew timing issues, the flight was ultimately cancelled.
The flight will continue to Chicago tomorrow under the flight number 2825 at 3pm. Some passengers have also been rebooked via Newark.
There are conflicting reports to as to how many passengers were onboard, with The Guardian reporting 207 passengers and 11 crew members while CBS News reporting only 107 passengers onboard. Based on the 214 passenger capacity and the fact we are approaching the peak summer travel seasons, I suspect there was 207 passengers onboard.
A United spokesman told me:
United flight UA971 en route to Chicago from Rome, diverted to Shannon following a potential security concern. Additional security screenings will be performed on all customers and baggage, and we will work to get customers on their way to Chicago as quickly as possible.
Thank goodness it was just a hoax…
image: dxme / Wikimedia Commons