FBI investigating online threats that affected 3 flights

AP News
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Posted: Jan 26, 2015 4:34 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — FBI agents on Monday were investigating hoax threats targeting three domestic airline flights that caused the evacuation of two after landing and the diversion of another.

The agency was trying to determine whether the threats, made online, were linked or if there may have been copycat threats, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

Law enforcement eventually determined the public was not at risk, though hundreds of people were inconvenienced on Sunday.

Passengers were taken from two planes that landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. In addition, a Delta Air Lines flight was diverted to Dallas from its Los Angeles-Orlando, Florida, route.

The flights into Seattle originated in Long Beach, California, and Phoenix, and were operated by JetBlue and SkyWest.

Hoax threats against specific flights are not rare, and suspects are routinely prosecuted, Eimiller said. Threats that were made by telephone in the past can now be done anonymously online.

The FBI did not want to discuss how the threats affecting the Sunday flights were made, saying those details could encourage others.

The disruptions came a day after bomb threats targeted two jets bound for Atlanta, prompting the military to scramble F-16 fighter jets as escorts. Those threats also ended up being hoaxes.

It was unclear if they were connected to the threats that affected Sunday's flights.