Bomb Scare Forces Jet’s Return to LAX

Times Staff Writer

A Piedmont Airlines jetliner bound for Baltimore returned to Los Angeles International Airport early Monday when the demeanor of a man who had left the plane before takeoff raised concerns that there might be a bomb on board.

After landing, Flight 1146 taxied to a remote spot on the tarmac, where the 144 passengers used emergency chutes to deplane.

Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad officers searched the Boeing 767, but no explosives, weapons or suspicious packages were found.


Two passengers suffered minor sprains when they slid to the bottom of the chutes, and the co-pilot broke an elbow and dislocated a shoulder while attempting to deplane through a cockpit emergency hatch, according to Agnes Huff, a spokeswoman for USAir, the parent of Piedmont Airlines.

Huff said that a few minutes before the flight’s scheduled departure about 12:30 a.m., a man--later identified as Vince Gore, 29--approached a stewardess, telling her that he was “afraid to fly and wanted to get off the airplane.”

Huff said that because the man was “acting oddly, incoherent, disheveled,” he was escorted off the craft and airport police were summoned to talk to him.

Plane Takes Off

Meanwhile, she said, Flight 1146 took off and headed east on the 2,500-mile flight to Baltimore.

Airport police called Los Angeles police. After talking to Gore, the LAPD officers radioed the pilot of Flight 1146, telling him that, while Gore had made no threats or talked about a bomb, he was behaving erratically.

“When the pilot was told the subject was being evasive, he decided to return to LAX,” Lt. Rubin Martinez of the airport police said.

The plane, which turned back over the eastern Mojave Desert, landed back at Los Angeles about 1:30 a.m. After they returned to the terminal, the passengers were rerouted on other flights, Huff said.

Airport officials said Gore is a transient who spends a good deal of time at the airport. They said he apparently found some way to board the plane without a ticket.

LAPD Sgt. Joe Mariani said that because no bomb was found and because Gore had made no threats, he was released.