Bomb threat to Southwest plane from LAX under investigation

Planes line up for takeoff at Los Angeles International Airport.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

The FBI on Tuesday continued to investigate a bomb threat that prompted an airliner to make an unscheduled landing after leaving Los Angeles bound for Austin, Texas.

Southwest Flight 2675 left Los Angeles International Airport just after 2 p.m. Monday for a nonstop trip to Austin. Instead, it was diverted and landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, according to a statement by FBI officials in Los Angeles.

Law enforcement sources familiar with the situation said the aircraft was about an hour into its flight when officials at LAX received a threat by telephone.


The threat was specific to the flight and made a vague reference to the Taliban, the sources said.

“An inspection of the Southwest Airlines plane was conducted by agents and police in Phoenix, to include explosives experts, and investigators found no threat to the aircraft,” said Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Los Angeles office.

All passengers were interviewed and and put on another plane to Austin with their luggage, which was rescreened.

“All efforts are being made to identify the caller who initiated the bomb threat,” said FBI Special Agent Manuel Johnson of the agency’s Phoenix office.

Edward Burger said he was on his way home to Austin after giving a lecture at UC Berkeley when the pilot announced there was a security threat. After making the turn, Burger said, the plane was escorted by two fighter jets until it landed in Phoenix.

The airline said the captain rerouted the plane “out of an abundance of caution.”

While quarantined in an airport terminal, Burger and other passengers were told not to use their cellphones.

“Each passenger was interviewed and asked four questions,” he wrote. They then waited to retrieve their belongings and board the new plane to Austin.


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