United flight from Newark to LA diverted to Chicago after bomb threat, sources say

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024
United Airlines flight diverted to O'Hare
A United Airlines flight landed flying from Newark, New Jersey to Los Angeles landed at O'Hare Airport after a security issue, the FAA said.

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

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

There was no altercation between a passenger and crew members.

Our sister station, WLS, had been previously told by law enforcement and airline sources 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.

The FBI said early Wednesday morning, FBI-Chicago and local partners responded to an incident with an aircraft at O'Hare airport.

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

CPD said a flight made an emergency landing at O'Hare, and the plane was evacuated.

Police responded and cleared the scene.

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"They didn't even announce anything to start," passenger Richard 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 was 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.

United Airlines said in a statement, "United flight 1533 diverted to Chicago this morning due to a potential security concern. The flight landed safely and met local law enforcement upon arrival. Customers deplaned and we expect the flight to depart for Los Angeles later this afternoon."