Passengers De-Board Plane at JFK as Bomb Threat Investigated: Sources | NBC Chicago

Passengers De-Board Plane at JFK as Bomb Threat Investigated: Sources

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    Passengers on board two Delta flights at Kennedy Airport were taken off each of the aircrafts Monday night as authorities investigated a bomb threat that turned out to be unfounded, officials say. Ida Siegal reports. (Published Monday, Jan. 19, 2015)

    Passengers on two Delta flights at John F. Kennedy Airport were taken off each aircraft Monday night as authorities investigated a bomb threat that turned out to be unfounded, officials say. 

    An anonymous phone call was placed to Delta headquarters just after 6 p.m. suggesting a pipe bomb was on Delta Flight 468, according to Port Authority spokesman Joe Pentangelo. 

    There were two Delta flights with the number 468: one has a Boeing 757 plane landing at JFK from San Francisco at 8 p.m., with 171 passengers on board, according to Delta Airlines.

    The other flight was a Boeing 777 plane leaving JFK at about 9:30 p.m. to go to Tel Aviv, with 215 passengers on board.

    It appeared the threat was referencing the incoming flight from San Francisco, but both flights were searched out of an abundance of caution, said Pentangelo. 

    The Tel Aviv-bound plane was still on the tarmac when the threatening call was placed, law enforcement officials said. It was searched and cleared, and took off close to schedule.

    The plane arriving from San Francisco was still in the air at the time of the threat. It was evacuated when it landed at JFK, and police dogs searched the aircraft and baggage area.

    Passengers were ordered to leave everything on the plane as it was evacuated, including carry-on bags, according to passenger Austen Holman, 29. They were only allowed to take their phones with them, which they were forbidden to use until they arrived at the terminal.

    Waiting to recover luggage after being taken by bus to the terminal Monday night, Holman told NBC News over the phone that "everyone's been pretty calm and well-behaved."

    Holman said travelers had no clue what was happening while they were still in the air. Then when they landed, the captain, "as calmly as he possibly could, said, 'We have some bad news. There's been a threat on this plane.'"

    "Everyone was like, 'What does that mean?'" she said. "For the most part, everyone remained pretty calm." 

    Passenger Melissa Fong agreed. 

    "I was quite nervous," she told NBC 4 New York. "But I think everyone did a really good job in communicating and getting us our belongings." 

    The plane was cleared and set to return to the gate late Monday night where passengers were able to retrieve their luggage.