Airplane from Jackson makes emergency landing after ‘possible explosive device’ reported

Airplane from Jackson makes emergency landing after ‘possible explosive device’ reported
File photo (Source: KALB)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT/KALB) - A flight from Jackson made an emergency landing in Alexandria, Louisiana, after concerns of a possible explosive device onboard.

Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office tells Gray Station KALB they received a call from Rapides 911 Center just before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday about an incoming plane.

According to initial reports, information was received there was a possible explosive device onboard an inbound aircraft to Alexandria International Airport (AEX).

Officials with the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority confirm that the flight left Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport at 11:39 a.m.

The FBI said that all passengers have proceeded to their destinations and there is no threat to public safety.

“FBI 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 their destinations.”

Bomb Squad officials and local FBI agents were also called to the scene to aid in the investigation.

Deputies, along with England Airpark Fire Department, responded to the scene where the passengers were off-loaded and the scene secured.

Two persons of interest have since been detained.

CommutAir issued this statement to WLBT:

“CommutAir flight 4344, operating as United Express from Jackson, Mississippi to Houston, diverted to Alexandria, Louisiana, due to a security issue. Local authorities are on site and are investigating.”

A passenger on the plane, Megann Cox, told KALB about the experience.

“We were mid-air and they made the announcement that we would be making an unexpected stop in Alexandria,” Cox said. “Never indicated why. We got to the airport here, got off the runway on these spurs on the tarmac. Shortly after we got here, they powered the engine down, turned all the electricity off, including the air circulation. We’ve been sitting in stagnant air for probably a good 40 or 45 minutes. They offered us some cold water, which was nice. They did not offer us any explanation until about 30 minutes in, that there was a customer service issue and they needed to address that. There has been nothing else. There’s been no - apparently, there may be an attempt to get us off the plane, because they brought a set of portable steps out here. I don’t think maybe they’re tall enough. But, this is a completely full flight coming from Jackson to Houston. So, we’re all missing our connections.”

It’s unclear what caused the concern or if any explosive device was actually found on the plane.

Officials with Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport said they were unaware of the situation.

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