HOUSTON – A
United flight headed to Houston was diverted to Alexandria International
Airport after reports of a possible explosive device onboard, according
to Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office.
At 12:24 p.m., the sheriff’s office received a call of a reported inbound aircraft emergency, officials said.
flight was en route from Jackson, Mississippi to Houston before being
diverted to Louisiana, according to deputies. The aircraft landed safely
and passengers were deplaned, deputies said.
According to The Associated Press, a passenger, Megann Cox, told KALB-TV they
were mid-air when the flight crew announced they would be making an
unexpected stop in Alexandria. She said the plane sat on the tarmac with
the electricity off, including the air circulation.
did not offer us any explanation until about 30 minutes in, that there
was a customer service issue and they needed to address that,” she said.
England Airpark Fire Department, Rapides Parish Sherriff’s Office, the
TSA, Acadian Ambulance and the FBI responded to the scene. RPSO Bomb
Squad along with local agents with the FBI also responded to the scene
to assist in the investigation.
Deputies said two persons of interest were detained.
United Airlines said it’s rebooking the passengers as quickly as possible.
FBI New Orleans released the following statement:
New Orleans is aware of the incident which occurred at the Alexandria,
LA airport today. Through a coordinated effort involving our law
enforcement partners, specifically the Louisiana State Police, Rapides
Parish Sheriff’s Office, Transportation Security Administration, US
Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana, Rapides Parish
Homeland Security, Rapides Parish District Attorney, and the England
Airpark Authority we are thankful to report there was no threat to
public safety and all diverted airline passengers have proceeded to
United Airlines released the following written statement:
flight 4344, operating as United Express from Jackson, Mississippi to
Houston, diverted to Alexandria, Louisiana, due to a customer-related
security issue. The flight landed safely and was met by local
authorities who are investigating the matter further.”