The flight, which operated as American Airlines flight 4817, was evacuated “in response to reports from passengers of suspicious and unpredictable behavior by a fellow passenger,” according to a statement from the New York and New Jersey Port Authority.
“Law enforcement and first responders hit the plane and the passenger involved in the incident was taken into custody,” Republic Airways said.
The plane said on Saturday “in response to the behavior of passengers towards the end of the flight,” the airline said.
Passengers told port authority police that at one point during the flight the passenger was reaching for his luggage and was scared, port authority spokesman Thomas Topousis told CNN. There were 76 passengers and six crew members on board the flight, Topousis added.
One passenger described what happened
The pilot alerted local authorities about the incident, and when the aircraft landed on a runway, an earlier statement by the port authority “carried out a runway exit to evacuate passengers from the airliner”.
Investigators interviewed the suspect passenger and several passengers seated closest to him to learn more about what was going on on board the flight, the port authority added.
Port Authority police called the New York City Fire Department to help with a flight that made an emergency landing, the FDNY told CNN.
Indianapolis-based Laura Bergdoll, who was on the flight with her 7-year-old son, told CNN as soon as the plane landed, “the pilots and flight attendants started yelling, ‘evacuate! Evacuate!’ and we all got off the plane. ”
Bergdoll said she heard “someone acted suspiciously and made some kind of bomb threat”.
The flight was an American Eagle flight 4817 operated by Republic Airways, which was from Indianapolis and arrived in LaGuardia, according to the airline.
The Federal Aviation Administration is aware of the incident and is calling it a security incident in which all passengers were safely removed from the aircraft.