The attorney of a man who allegedly made a bomb threat against an American Airlines flight to Philadelphia after he turned up at the airport late claims the incident was a ‘misunderstanding’ and that the gate agent might have been confused by his client’s accent.
Hossein Dehnavifard, 37, who is originally from Iran, has been charged with making terroristic threats and threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction following the incident on Wednesday, which prompted a full-scale security alert at Pittsburgh International Airport.
Around 100 passengers who had arrived on time for American Airlines flight AA1862 were evacuated from the aircraft while local enforcement sent in a bomb detection canine unit to sweep the Airbus A319 aircraft.
The B Concourse at Pittsburg Airport was partially locked down while officials dealt with the security alert after Dehnavifard allegedly claimed that there was a bomb in his checked luggage.
Dehnavifard was allegedly disgruntled after arriving at the boarding gate late and being denied entry to the plane.
Following his arrest, Dehnavifard was initially going to be released on bail but a motions hearing was added to the case, preventing his release.
“I think things got lost in translation. He speaks with a heavy accent, so I think they possibly misunderstood what he was saying. I’m not trying to downgrade what happened, but there are always two sides to every story. His side has yet to be told,” his defense attorney was quoted as saying by local station WPXI.
The incident occurred just days after a passenger who was meant to be on a jetBlue flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles made a bomb threat against the plane when they missed the flight.
JetBlue flight 879 was already in the air when the bomb threat was made and was allowed to continue on to Los Angeles, where it was then sent to the penalty box so that passengers could be evacuated onto the tarmac while officials conducted checks of the luggage.
After a more than two-hour search, the aircraft and all the luggage were given the all-clear.
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.