Threat That Grounded Plane In San Francisco Was 'Hoax'

A threatening phone call that forced authorities to ground an American Airlines plane as it prepared to take off from San Francisco airport was a hoax, local media reported Friday. The San Francisco Chronicle said a hotel clerk in Alameda, California reported receiving a call from a man whose voice she did not recognize, threatening to hijack Flight 124. Local police reported the call to federal authorities who ordered the plane grounded just before take-off. Passengers aboard were told by the pilot they were being grounded because of a threat to the aircraft. A woman and a man were taken from the plane in handcuffs but later released, the newspaper reported. Citing police, the Chronicle said authorities had determined the threat to the plane was "non-credible." Passengers interviewed by local television stations or communicating on the micro-blogging website Twitter said the aircraft was evacuated in a calm manner. The Chronicle said the 126 passengers, excluding those taken away in handcuffs, were escorted out of the front of the aircraft in groups of six and were questioned individually. Their bodies and carry on luggage were checked with handheld scanners, the paper said. Federal officials told the newspaper that a false threat to the plane was a felony, but no one had been arrested.