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.
The 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.
”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,” she said.
The 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:
“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.”
United Airlines released the following written statement:
“CommutAir 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.”
This is a developing story.