A flight attendant on a Southwest Airlines flight received an AirDrop image that appeared to be a bomb threat earlier this week, so the Vegas-to-Maui flight was forced to make a brief stop in Oakland. No bombs were found, but passengers recorded some scary TikToks.
KRON4 has the news of a Southwest Airlines Las Vegas-to-Maui flight Monday that was diverted to Oakland over an apparent bomb threat. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, TSA, Oakland Airport Operations, and Airport Police Services all intervened, and no bomb was found. But SFGate has some eye-opening follow-up reporting, including TikTok video from the bomb search, and the detail that a flight attendant could be overheard saying “Get me the fuck off this plane, get me the fuck off this plane.”
As for the bomb threat itself, it was apparently an image that someone (possibly a passenger) sent to a flight attendant and other passengers using the Apple service AirDrop. The attendant alerted authorities two and a half hours after the flight took off from Las Vegas.
“It sounded like it was a photo that was taken of our plane and the people on it, saying, ‘I’m going to blow this bitch up,’” passenger Valerie Maluchnik told SFGate. “I didn’t see it myself. But that’s what other people said that received the threats.”
@miss.valerie808 Wtf??? Who would do something like this #flight3316 ♬ original sound - Bthechange
Passengers were initially told there was a mechanical issue. But once the aircraft landed in Oakland, as seen in the TikTok video above, an Alameda County Sheriff’s deputy informed them that it was some sort of “security incident.”
@miss.valerie808 Replying to @GoatLadyFarmsCA ive honestly been havjng a panic attack for hours now… #flight3316 #southwestairlines #traumatized ♬ original sound - Bthechange
Passengers did not disembark to a terminal, and were forced to go directly onto the runway while authorities conducted a bomb sweep.
Southwest Airlines acknowledged to incident in a statement to KRON4. “We can confirm flight 3316 on Monday afternoon diverted to Oakland from its intended path, Las Vegas to Maui, and later continued on to Maui. We’d defer additional questions to local authorities who met the aircraft," the statement said. “We place no priority higher than Safety and we’re grateful for patience and understanding during this delayed journey to Hawaii.“
Passengers were forced to switch planes, and the flight eventually did land in Maui. There are currently no suspects or arrests in this incident, but the FBI is investigating.
Image: Miguel Ángel Sanz via Unsplash