SOUTHLAND : Fake Bomb Threat Empties LAX Control Tower, Snarls Air Traffic

From Times Wire Services

A bomb threat at a Federal Aviation Administration control tower near Los Angeles International Airport this morning forced officials to evacuate the building and delay incoming flights for up to 45 minutes until a police search of the area found no explosives.

FAA spokeswoman Elly Brekke said that departing flights were not affected by the threat to the tower, which controls the movements of planes on the ground and monitors the last few seconds of their landings and the first moments of their departures.

Aviation officials decided to evacuate most of the building's workers after a man telephoned the tower about 9:15 a.m. and said a bomb had been placed inside, Brekke said. A skeleton crew was left inside to supervise departing flights.

The FAA's regional center at Palmdale took over control of flights heading into LAX during the evacuation, Brekke said. Flights that were due to arrive imminently were placed in holding patterns and those farther away were asked to slow their speeds, Brekke said. There were also unconfirmed reports that several flights had landed at Ontario Airport.

After a one-hour search of the tower found no evidence of explosives, workers were allowed to return to the building at 10:30 a.m. Delays for incoming flights were expected to continue through the late afternoon, Brekke said.

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