AP News

Threat diverts United Express flight to Phoenix


PHOENIX (AP) — A United Express flight from San Francisco to San Antonio was diverted to Phoenix on Thursday because of a threat that authorities said came from aboard the plane.

Officials at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport said Flight 5573 landed at 4:45 p.m. Thursday and everyone on board was evacuated.

Officials with SkyWest Airlines Inc., which operates flights under the United Express brand, said there were 42 passengers, two pilots and two flight attendants on the regional jet. A SkyWest spokeswoman referred all questions about the threat to Phoenix authorities.

Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Steve Martos said "the reported threat was on the plane" but he couldn't provide any details.

He said that a bomb squad and police dogs searched the plane and luggage "to make absolutely sure there's no threat," and nothing dangerous was found. Martos said that all of the passengers were interviewed and cleared to continue their journey.

By 7:15 p.m., Sky Harbor spokeswoman Deborah Ostreicher said the passengers were being rescreened to resume their trip to San Antonio on Thursday night. Local news reports said later that they had departed.

"No further information is available about the specific security issue that caused the flight to be diverted to Phoenix, but the passengers are all safe and police are investigating," Ostreicher said.

In comments late Thursday night, Martos also declined to elaborate on the specific nature of the security issue.

The plane that was searched was isolated on the northwest side of airport and Sky Harbor officials said the incident wasn't causing any flight delays.

United Express is the brand name for several regional airlines that operate shorter flights for United Airlines.


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