Powered By
Sponsored By
Digital Camera

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thai plane in LA bomb scare: FBI

LOS ANGELES — US police searched a Thai Airways airliner at Los Angeles International Airport after it landed following a bomb warning, but no credible threat was found on board, the FBI said.

Amid jitters days ahead of the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the jet was taken to a remote part of the airport where nearly 200 passengers and crew exited and bomb squad police boarded, said a Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman.

A written threat saying there was a bomb on board was found in a lavatory, she said. Passengers and crew of the plane were interviewed after it landed, she added.

"Investigators who conducted a thorough search of the aircraft, including passenger luggage and cargo, found no evidence to suggest there is a credible threat to the aircraft," said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

"Procedures to render the aircraft and its contents safe were conducted by FBI and (LA police) bomb technicians and canine handlers. An investigation to identify the person/s responsible for making the threat is continuing."

The incident comes amid heightened security ahead of the ninth anniversary Saturday of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon on Washington.

A spokeswoman for police at the airport said they were notified at 7:15 pm (0215 GMT Wednesday) of the alleged threat to Thai Airways Flight 794, which landed at 8:45 pm, on schedule.

Eighteen fire trucks and fire engines were placed on standby at the airport before the plane landed, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman said.

In a statement, Thai Airways said the plane was carrying 179 passengers and crew. The FBI spokeswoman told AFP she understood nearly 200 people were on board.

According to Thai press, the bomb threat emerged while the aircraft was in flight.

The Bangkok Post, citing an airline official, said "a member of the cabin crew found a message written on a mirror in a toilet saying that a bomb was hidden on the plane."

In Bangkok, Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said there was as yet no information to link the bomb threat to domestic politics or to the recent US extradition battle for alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

"We still have no information on the cause of the threat and we are still checking whether a Thai or foreign passenger wrote the message," he said.

Panitan added that the incident was unlikely to affect Thai Airways' business.

A series of grenade attacks in the Thai capital in recent weeks has rattled nerves in a city still under emergency rule after anti-government "Red Shirt" protests in April and May in which 91 people died and about 1,900 were injured.

No comments: