JetBlue radio glitch sets off hijacking scare at JFK

JetBlue radio glitch sets off hijacking scare at JFK
Image: CBS New York video screen grab

[Ed. – Luckily it was a false alarm.]

A communications failure sparked a hijacking scare on a JetBlue flight at JFK Airport on Tuesday, setting off a frenzy from first responders over what turned out to be a false alarm.

JetBlue Flight 1623, an Airbus 320 bound for Los Angeles, lost contact with the air traffic control tower while taxiing for takeoff at about 8 p.m. After five minutes passed, the pilot entered a hijack alert by mistake, sending in a Port Authority Police Emergency Services unit to board the plane, sources said.

At one point, the plane’s pilot held up a piece of paper with his cell phone number written on it, so police could call him and find out what happened, sources said.

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Passengers on the plane tweeted that “heavy armed” police boarded the plane to investigate. The passengers disembarked the plane and were transferred to another flight, sources said.

“There was a false alarm sent to tower as a result of a radio communications failure,” Port Authority spokeswoman Lenis Rodrigues said Tuesday night. “(The) aircraft was inspected and cleared with no security threat.”

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