U.S.-Bound Flight Diverted to Ireland After Security Scare

NEW YORK/DUBLIN (Reuters) -
A United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER plane takes off from Los Angeles International airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California, March 28, 2018. (REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo)

A United Airlines flight from Rome to Chicago was diverted to Ireland’s Shannon Airport on Monday after a message perceived as a potential security concern was discovered on board, Irish police and airline officials said.

The message made reference to a bomb on the plane, a source with knowledge of the investigation told Reuters.

The 207 passengers and 11 crew members disembarked from the Boeing 767-330 at Shannon Airport at 2:15 p.m. local time, according to Jim Molloy, a representative of Ireland’s police force.

United said in a statement that the landing was due to “a potential security concern,” but declined to comment further.

“After assessing the situation, our crew made the decision to divert to the nearest available airport,” it said. “Additional security screenings will be performed on all customers and baggage.”

A second U.S. government source said similar incidents involving threatening notes found on airplanes happen about once a week.

The handwriting on the note was being analyzed to see if it matched with any other such notes, which are periodically found on aircraft, one of the sources said. It was not clear whether the note was posted in the bathroom prior to takeoff or during the flight.

Police were also taking handwriting samples from the passengers, the Irish Times reported. The message was found in the plane toilet, it said, without citing sources.