Michigan Airport Evacuated after Threats

July 5, 2007
Airport was evacuated for four hours and several flights were diverted after nine bomb threats were phoned in.

FLINT, Mich. --

Bishop International Airport was evacuated for about four hours and several flights were diverted after nine bomb threats were phoned in, authorities said.

Aviation operations were back to normal shortly before 9 p.m., according to Norm Brewer, a Transportation Security Administration spokesman in Washington.

Brewer said he did not know if any bombs were found or whether there were any suspects or arrests. Dawn Clenney, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Detroit, declined to discuss the investigation.

More than 1 million passengers traveled through the airport last year, according to its Web site. The airport serves AirTran Airways, American Eagle, Northwest Airlines, Midwest Connect, Delta Connection and Funjet Vacations.

The evacuation began shortly after the threats were called in to the airport's rescue department around 5 p.m., said Tad Hutcheson, vice president of marketing for AirTran, the airport's biggest carrier.

"It did not mention any airline by name," Hutcheson told the AP. "We evaluated the threat. We considered it a nonspecific threat, but we take it seriously nonetheless."

Airport spokeswoman Pat Corfman said four or five flights had to be diverted while bomb-sniffing dogs searched the terminal. It wasn't immediately clear where the flights were diverted, though an airport in Lansing is 50 miles away and one in Detroit is 60 miles away.

Law enforcement officials surrounded AirTran Flight 246, with 116 passengers and five crew members aboard, after it arrived from Atlanta at 5:43 p.m.

"When he touched down in Flint, that's when the airport operations advised the captain he had to go to remote parking," Hutcheson said.

The plane, which was sent to a remote parking lot, was searched and baggage was searched and scanned, Hutcheson said. Passengers were held on board until about 8 p.m.

An American Eagle flight and a small Cessna plane also were directed to the remote parking lot, the executive said.


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