United flight from Newark to Los Angeles diverted to Chicago after security issue

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Flight from Newark diverted to Chicago after security issue
The plane was originally headed to Los Angeles prior to the discovery of a bomb threat.

CHICAGO (WABC) -- A United Airlines flight landed flying from Newark, New Jersey, to Los Angeles landed at O'Hare Airport in Chicago after a security issue, the FAA said.

The FAA said United Airlines Flight 1533 landed safely at O'Hare Airport at about 7:40 a.m. after the crew reported a security issue.

The Boeing 787 left from Newark Liberty International Airport and was headed to Los Angeles International Airport.

According to a source, there was a bomb threat written in a lavatory.

There was no altercation between a passenger and crew members.

Law enforcement and airline sources previously told the ABC7 I-Team at sister station WLS that a passenger on United #1533 physically tangled with crew members and others on the flight.

They said it happened while the jetliner was airborne and classified as a "Level Two" threat, which is how the FAA refers to a passenger who physically engages others on the aircraft.

Authorities diverted to O'Hare where there was a Plan One emergency landing with police, fire trucks and ambulances in place.

"There is no indication that there is an imminent threat to public safety or the facility itself at this time," the FBI said.

Richard Fickling was one of 211 passengers and crew members unexpectedly forced to deplane.

"They didn't even announce anything to start," passenger Fickling said. "I got a notification on my watch that said my flight was being diverted to Chicago and then everybody in the cabin started looking at each other trying to figure out what was going on. We could feel we were starting to descend. I looked on the seatback map that the new destination as Chicago and then finally after like 15 minutes the pilot came on the radio or on the PA and said there was a situation and that we had to descend."

Passengers were deplaned and taken by bus to a secure area.

"You just wasted a full day of 200 to 250 people's time," Fickling said. "Plus, there's probably 50 to 100 people at United dealing with this."

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Chantee Lans has the latest.


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