Threat triggers emergency response at Burlington International Airport
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A flight was grounded for hours at the Burlington International Airport on Sunday as emergency crews swept the plane for explosives.
Just after 4:30 p.m., crew members on board a United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, bound for Burlington, Vermont, were alerted to a threat on board.
About 20 minutes before landing, they alerted traffic control, who prepared the runway for an emergency landing.
“The airport followed our emergency procedures and responded to the event,” said Nicolas Longo, the director of aviation at the Burlington International Airport.
The FBI, Homeland Security and a flurry of other agencies rushed to the scene.
Authorities won’t say how the crew found out about the threat.
“The investigation is ongoing and there is no reason to believe this is anything but an isolated incident,” said Longo.
The plane made an emergency landing and was held on the tarmac for hours. Specialized crews and Vermont State Police bomb-sniffing dog teams surrounded and boarded the plane.
“They sniffed up and down the plane and then they sniffed each passenger,” said State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Baruth, one of the 65 passengers evacuated from the plane.
Baruth said passengers were then guided down a staircase across the tarmac and into a hangar.
“They isolated us with police at both ends and they don’t know whether one of us could be a bad actor, so that doesn’t feel great,” Baruth said.
Crews then took every piece of luggage off of the plane, lining belongings up on the runway and inspecting every bag one at a time.
As night fell, crews did not find any credible threats. No one was injured and no one was arrested. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are now leading the investigation. Local police call the response a success.
“What we have here is a safe plane, a safe airport procedure that were followed and a successful outcome,” said Acting Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad.
Airport officials say this was the final stop for everyone on board, so no one missed their connecting flight. Some passengers were separated from their luggage and they are working with United Airlines to be reconnected.
WCAX Burlington Airport Live Camera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NZYi-BCCDY