LAS VEGAS- Southwest Airlines (WN) flight from Las Vegas (LAS) to Kahului (OGG), Hawaii, on Monday had to be diverted to Oakland (OAK) due to a bomb scare caused by a passenger’s misuse of Apple’s AirDrop feature.
The incident occurred when a passenger shared a photo suggesting the presence of a bomb on the plane with fellow passengers, as reported by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
Southwest Airlines Las Vegas to Hawaii Flight Diverted
The sheriff’s office received the tip about the alarming image being circulated on Southwest Airlines Flight 3316 at approximately 11 a.m. Lieutenant Tya Modeste confirmed the incident to The Mercury News.
The plane, which had been in the air for about 1 hour and 50 minutes, was subsequently diverted and safely landed at Metro Oakland International at around 12:49 p.m., according to data from FlightAware.
Deputies from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office met the aircraft upon arrival. Subsequently, to assist in evacuating passengers, ensuring their safety.
The news outlet reported that bomb-sniffing dogs were deployed to thoroughly search the aircraft and the approximately 300 pieces of luggage on board. Fortunately, no explosives were found during the search.
While no arrests have been made, the case is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office and the FBI, as stated by The Mercury News. Authorities are working to determine the source and intentions behind the false bomb scare.
Valerie Maluchnik, a passenger on the flight, documented her experience during the incident through a series of TikTok videos.
In one video, she shared the announcement made by a deputy who informed passengers about the “security incident” and the need to disembark the plane while carrying their phones, identification, and boarding passes. Subsequent videos showcased passengers leaving the aircraft and waiting in the airport terminal.
Maluchnik revealed that all passengers’ bags were meticulously searched to ensure the safety of the plane, including elderly individuals and mothers with infants.
Expressing her appreciation for the thoroughness of the search, she highlighted the potential seriousness of the situation, stating, “The bomb threat may have been a joke, but what if it wasn’t?”
Southwest Airlines issued a statement regarding the incident, emphasizing its commitment to safety. They deferred additional questions to local authorities who had met the aircraft.
The statement conveyed gratitude for the patience and understanding demonstrated by passengers during the disrupted journey to Hawaii.
Both the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI’s San Francisco division have yet to respond to requests for comment from Insider.
This incident involving an alarming AirDrop share causing disruption to a flight is not the first of its kind. In February, an American Airlines flight experienced delays after a high school student told fellow passengers, “I have a bomb and would like to share a photo.”
Similarly, in January, a Pegasus Airlines flight faced delays after passengers received AirDropped images depicting plane crashes, causing distress among those on board.
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