A potential security threat onboard an American Eagle flight prompted an emergency landing and full-scale evacuation at LaGuardia Airport on Saturday afternoon. A passenger was taken into custody following the incident but law enforcement sources later said the threat against the aircraft was a false alarm.
Passengers were forced to deplane the Embraer 170 regional jet via an emergency slide at the front of the aircraft after it landed shortly before 3 pm on Saturday afternoon.
Fire trucks and other emergency service vehicles were seen rushing towards the plane after the pilots radioed ahead to say that a passenger had made threats against the flight and claimed an explosive device was onboard.
All 80 passengers and crew onboard the American Eagle flight evacuated safely according to the Federal Aviation Administration following what it described as a “security incident”. The flight was operated on behalf of American Airlines by regional carrier Republic Airways.
“American Eagle flight 4817, operated by Republic Airways with service from Indianapolis to New York (LGA) deplaned on the taxiway at LGA due to a potential security issue. The aircraft landed safely, and all customers deplaned without incident,” a spokesperson for American Airlines said following the incident.
Sources claim a passenger onboard the plane started to become unruly and his behavior was frightening other passengers. When confronted by flight attendants, the passenger claimed he had an explosive device onboard the aircraft.
Video taken by one of the passengers on the flight shows firefighters detaining a man on the tarmac a short time after the evacuation. The man was spreadeagled as onlookers were ordered to keep their distance.
Authorities later confirmed that there was no substantial threat against the aircraft.
The FAA has reported an uptick in unruly passenger incidents in the past few weeks after a late summer dip in disruptive incidents. President Biden promised to “deal with” unruly passengers later last week and has directed the Department of Justice to direct resources towards the problem.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.