Passengers on high alert during bomb threat onboard flight bound for Charlotte Douglas

·3 min read

Passengers onboard a flight bound for Charlotte Douglas International Airport said they were on high alert after a security scare Thursday night.

An American Airlines flight with service from St. Lucia to Charlotte Douglas International Airport was met by law enforcement after it landed Thursday night due to a possible security issue, a spokesperson with the airline confirmed.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said someone on the plane airdropped a picture of a bomb to other passengers.

A couple onboard told Channel 9 that they thought the plane had been hijacked.

Passengers were so shaken that they sent texts to family members on the ground.

Emily Hopson texted, “Having some sort of issue with landing. Just pray it goes smooth. I love you.”

Passengers told Channel 9 that after the Airbus A319-112 landed, they were told by police there was a possible bomb threat being airdropped to other passengers on the plane.

However, they were in the air and left in the dark as the situation unfolded.

“We were both pretty much, like, ‘Is the plane getting highjacked?’” passenger Krista Larson said.

Krista Larsen and her husband were returning from their honeymoon in St. Lucia when a dream vacation turned into a nightmare.

“At this point, we were all freaked out,” she said. “Like, what is happening? Why aren’t we landing?’”

Larsen said she could tell something was wrong after the captain announced they were getting ready to land.

“The plane just dipped back up into the sky, and we were, like, ‘Is everything OK?’” Larson said.

They checked a flight-tracking app and saw they were circling the airport for what seemed like hours.

“I’m not trying to die,” Larsen said. “Neither is my husband. We’ll get up and fight this guy.”

The Hopsons were returning from an anniversary trip and were concerned when the plane circled before landing.

“We sent messages to people at home in case anything went wrong,” Hopson said.

Hopson texted her uncle that she didn’t want to worry her parents because it was so late but that something was wrong on the flight and that she loved him.

They landed at Charlotte Douglas and were met by emergency vehicles on the taxiway.

A CMPD officer boarded the plane.

“Pretty much immediately, once he got on he said, ‘We just want to let y’all know what the situation is. Someone sent an airdrop of a photo of an explosive device,’” Adam Hopson said. “And (the officer) said that (the passenger had) a bomb and they asked for all the passengers who received the airdrop.”

Police asked whoever sent the threat to please stand and turn themselves in, Hopson said.

The couples who Channel 9 spoke with said a person in a mask and hoodie walked to the front and they all eventually were escorted off the aircraft.

Passengers were to deplane flight AA823 normally at Charlotte Douglas, officials said in an email at about 11 p.m.

“Safety and security are our top priorities and we thank our customers for their understanding and cooperation and our team members for their professionalism,” the spokesperson said in the email.

The flight was scheduled to land at 8:25 p.m. and had an estimated time to land at 9:46 p.m., according to Flightradar24.