2 detained in Louisiana after possible bomb on plane

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — A United Airlines flight from Mississippi was diverted to Alexandria International Airport in Louisiana on Wednesday because of a possible explosive device onboard.

Two people were detained as “persons of interest,” the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

The plane remained on a tarmac, away from the terminal, for more than three hours after landing just before 12:30 p.m., news outlets reported. All passengers were removed.

The flight left Jackson, Mississippi, at 11:39 a.m. and was in route to Houston, officials said.

The sheriff office’s bomb squad and the FBI were at the airport.

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.

No other information was immediately released about the alleged threat, whether an explosive was found or the people who were detained.

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.

Alicia Irmscher, FBI New Orleans

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