Authorities are investigating the background of a man who allegedly ranted that an airliner would blow up, or that he would blow it up – forcing the plane to return to the gate before take-off.
The incident occurred aboard a Southwest Airlines flight departing from Oakland International Airport on one of the busiest weeks for travel in the US.
Authorities arrested 32-year-old Arpan Shah, of Maryland, after Southwest Flight 5135 turned back from its scheduled take-off, the East Bay Times reported. Shah was arrested on suspicion of making felony criminal threats, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said. Federal charges are pending.
Ranting about blowing up a plane while aboard one was “like somebody yelling fire in a crowded movie theatre,” a police officer investigating the case commented.
The incident forced passengers to depart the plane and go back through security screening. Explosive-sniffing dogs were deployed and a bomb squad checked all compartments of the aircraft.
Nothing was found and the flight eventually left for Baltimore three hours after its scheduled departure.
Written by Peter Needham