#BREAKING New video shows cops entering the #Jetblue plane at #JFK. According to its tail number, appears to be flight 1623 to #LAX, departed gate just before 7:30 but never left ground. #B61623 #abc7ny #PAPD #JFK pic.twitter.com/R7w4sf2XYb— Josh Einiger (@JoshEiniger7) June 27, 2018
Police surrounded a JetBlue aircraft at the New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport after the pilot mistakenly called in hijacking.
Flight 1623 was on its way to Los Angeles, when the pilot tried to send a message to air traffic controllers that the tarmac was having radio issues. However, he punched in the code used to signal a hijack by mistake. As a result, a plethora of police officers, firefighters and SWAT officials encircled the plane.
To make things clear, the pilot reportedly wrote down his number on a piece of paper and held it up so that the air controllers could call him and find out about the situation. But when the controllers failed to make contact with the pilot, they assumed a security threat onboard. That’s when the officials swarmed in the plane and told passengers, who were already petrified, to raise their hands up in the air as they searched the plane.
A blogger who was on the flight shared pictures of what was happening inside the plane. "SWAT came and told us to pull our phones away and leave (our) hands up," said Alexa Curtis.
“Shortly before departure, Flight 1623 from New York JFK to Los Angeles experienced a radio issue impacting the crew’s ability to communicate and a false alarm was sent to JFK tower,” a spokeswoman for JetBlue said, calling the incident a “false alarm.”
“While communication was reestablished via alternate channels, authorities responded in an abundance of caution. The aircraft was cleared and returned to the gate for inspection,” she added.
The plane “was inspected and cleared with no security threat,” said a Port Authority spokeswoman.
Later it was discovered that the police had responded after the cockpit’s communication with tower officials stopped.
Passengers who got affected by this false hijack alarm chaos shared their experience on social media.
I am on a Jet Blue flight at JFK that lost its communications. Created a security crisis. 10 heavily armed cops boarded plane and just left. After 1.5 hours on runway being towed back to gate. Wow.— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) June 27, 2018
I’ve never been told to put my hands up on any plane, but this happened on our @JetBlue plane back to LAX!! Super scary moment as the swat-like team came down the aisle, guns out. #jetblue pic.twitter.com/yHjjpdsuSb— Daniel Cruz (@DanielRoyCruz) June 27, 2018
BTW, before port authority came on the plane, we were told to put our phones away and to turn off our phones and to NOT film what was about to happen. Everyone was pretty shook up and most complied. Police yelled "hands up" when our plane was boarded— Daniel Cruz (@DanielRoyCruz) June 27, 2018
I wish I knew what really happened, @JetBlue. No formal email explaining what actually happened. Mixed stories are coming from everywhere. Passengers are still pretty confused on this flight... #jetblue— Daniel Cruz (@DanielRoyCruz) June 27, 2018
I get that a loss of communication is a huge deal. So it’s good they never took off... but is the SWAT team with guns drawn standard procedure for this type of Incident? I wonder what actually happened. #JetBlue #JFK #LAX— L. Horton-Tyrrell (@LHortonTyrrell) June 27, 2018
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Lucas Jackson