A Republic Airways flight was grounded shortly after 3 p.m. EST Saturday so that 76 passengers and six crew could be evacuated on a runway at LaGuardia Airport after a passenger reported her seat mate’s “erratic” behavior and her subsequent fear of a bomb on board.
The anonymous woman who reported the suspicious behavior by her fellow passenger expressed to a flight attendant that he was “timing” the flight after takeoff according to the New York Post.
“He was looking at photos of what looked like to be homemade bombs. Then he got very erratic and fidgety at the end of the flight and went to like grab a camera as we were landing and asked to put up the shade. It was very odd behavior,” the woman who reported the passenger added.
“A Republic Airways aircraft, operating as American 4817, declared an emergency and landed at New York’s LaGuardia Airport without incident in response to passenger behavior near the end of the flight. Upon exiting the active runway, the aircraft stopped on a taxiway and conducted a precautionary emergency evacuation,” the airline said in a statement according to CBS New York.
(Source: CBS New York)
“Our crew responded to the situation in accordance with our procedures and with professionalism and a concern for safety of all aboard. Law enforcement and first responders met the aircraft and the passenger involved in the incident has been taken into custody. We apologize to our passengers for this disruption to their travels,” the statement continued.
Republic Airways is a partner of American Airlines.
The pilot remained even-keeled in the high pressure scenario, telling air traffic control, “We’re landing right now.”
“Tower, Brickyard 48… 4817, we’re declaring an emergency, we have a situation here where a suspicious person has an item that looks like an explosive device,” the pilot told ATC over the airwaves according to a recording published online at liveatc.net.
“Brickyard 4817, you said there is a suspicious… Somebody has something suspicious?” air traffic controllers asked.
“Yes, in our aircraft. We’re landing right now,” the pilot confirmed.
ATC asked the pilot if he needed any assistance as they determined which runway the flight should utilize in the emergency landing.
“Yeah, we’re gonna be evacuating and just have the passengers just be safe from the aircraft, because we don’t know what this person has. Everyone else is scared on this aircraft,” the pilot said.
All passengers were safely evacuated from the flight, an Embraer Air E75 regional jet operating as Republic Airlines Flight 4817 traveling from Indianapolis to New York City, and videos quickly began circulating social media showing the evacuated flight-goers on the tarmac while law enforcement rushed to the plane.
The passenger in question remains unidentified, but could be seen being detained by law enforcement in a video that passenger Valerie Falsetta shared with CBS New York.
Authorities swept the plane, but nothing suspicious was found. The Port Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment according to Fox News.
Additional footage of the incident posted online can be seen below:
So the end of our flight got interesting pic.twitter.com/gdJSUUG906
— Laura (@lbrgdl) October 9, 2021
Suspicious Device on Airplane – 2 Alarm Emergency Response at LGA Airport
— Newsistaan (@newsistaan) October 9, 2021
#BREAKING At LGA Airport with reports of a suspicious package. Airplane evacuated, emergency crews seem to be spraying the airplane after deplaning: @News12BK @News12BX @News12 pic.twitter.com/0SmdgTKRJZ
— Sabrina Franza (@sabrinafranza) October 9, 2021
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