Security Threat Diverts AA Jet From DFW To Land In Phoenix

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Federal investigators are trying to determine if a threat posted on Twitter that forced an American Airlines planes to divert its flight was part of a bigger cyber attack. (Published Monday, Aug 25, 2014)

    Passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 362 from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to San Diego had to make an emergency landing in Phoenix, Ariz., Sunday. 

    "We were flying along and all of a sudden they came across the intercom and said, 'We are making an emergency landing,'” said passenger Ashley Cain.

    The airline confirmed a security threat forced pilots to land the plane just before 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time. There were 179 passengers and six crew members aboard to the plane.

    "We just wanted to know what’s going on and they said there has been some sort of a bomb threat called in," said Cain.

    Security Threat Diverts AA Jet To Phoenix

    [DFW] Security Threat Diverts AA Jet To Phoenix
    Passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 362 from Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport to San Diego had to make an emergency landing in Phoenix, Arizona Sunday. (Published Sunday, Aug 24, 2014)

    A comment on Twitter was posted by a user named ‘Lizard Squad’ several minutes before the plane landed safely in Phoenix. The tweet reads, "@AmericanAir We have been receiving reports that @j_smedley's plane #362 from DFW to San Diego has explosives on board, please look into this."

    The Twitter handle @j_smedley belongs to John Smedley, who is the president of Sony Online Entertainment, according to a spokesperson for the company. Around the time the plane landed in Arizona, Smedley sent out a tweet saying, "Awesome, flight diverted to Phoenix for security reasons."

    “Two marshals escorted a gentleman off the plane,” said Cain. “About 20 minutes later everybody else de-boarded the plane.”

    The FBI has not confirmed if any arrests were made or who was escorted off the plane.

    AA Flight From DFW Diverted To Phoenix

    [DFW] AA Flight From DFW Diverted To Phoenix
    An American Airlines flight from DFW Airport to San Diego made an emergency landing at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport on Sunday. (Published Sunday, Aug 24, 2014)

    The K9 unit searched through bags on the tarmac and passengers had to wait several hours, before they were allowed back on the plane to continue their flight to San Diego. 

    "I think this was kind of an unusual bomb scare in that they pretty well knew one of the people on the plane was the target," said aviation expert Denny Kelly. "You don't have any choice. If somebody says there's a bomb on this airplane, you to put it on the ground as soon as possible."

    The FBI is leading the investigation and has not confirmed if any weapons or explosive devices where found on the plane. Nobody was injured and there were no additional incidents.  

    "You've got a lot of different law enforcement entities that will have the same type of intelligence working on those technologies, working on or against those hackers," said Danny Defenbaugh, formerly with Dallas FBI.

    The FBI is also investigating whether the same group is responsible for the weekend service outage of the Sony PlayStation Network.

    "You've got a lot of different law enforcement entities that will have the same type of intelligence working on those technologies, working on or against those hackers," said Danny Defenbaugh, formerly with Dallas FBI. "I think you have to take every threat seriously. The first time that you don't is the first time that you're going to regret for the rest of your life."

    NBC 5's Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.