Threat grounds flight to NYC
SAN FRANCISCO — A hijack threat halted an American Airlines flight just before takeoff yesterday, leaving the New York-bound jet sitting on the tarmac for several hours while it was searched and while passengers were removed for extra scrutiny.
The FBI later determined that the telephoned threat was not credible, but after the 9/11 attacks and a series of airline scares in the past year, the incident still rattled nerves as it played out live on national television.
Police were investigating who called in the hijacking threat and what the motivation might have been.
Though passengers described the scene aboard the
The couple confirmed that they were the ones who had been removed from the plane but declined to identify themselves.
A fellow passenger suggested the couple may have been targeted because of their appearance. Michael Anderson, 20, saw the couple later at the American Airlines ticket counter and observed them carrying passports from Pakistan. “It definitely seems like it was racial profiling, based on what they look like physically and the fact they are Pakistani,’’ said Anderson.