SAN BERNARDINO - U.S. fighter jets were scrambled to escort a Boeing 727 on Monday afternoon after the commercial aircraft failed to maintain proper communication, authorities said.
A news blackout of several hours was cast over the situation. A spokesman for San Bernardino police said his department had been instructed to say nothing about the plane.
It landed without incident at San Bernardino International Airport, its reported destination, late in the afternoon. It was met there by several police units.
"It was determined there was no threat to security," said Norm Brewer, spokesman for the federal Transportation Security Administration.
He didn't know if it was a technical problem or a failure to follow protocol.
"For whatever reason, it did not maintain adequate communication, and we alerted military escort," he said.
There are a couple of fighter jets based at March Air Reserve Base near Riverside for homeland security, but he couldn't say if those were the jets that were scrambled.
The plane was on its way from Duluth, Minn., he said.
People who work at the airport wondered why fighter jets were buzzing overhead.
It was not clear why the white Boeing 727 with Associated Air Cargo painted on its side was on its way to San Bernardino.
Two crew members were kept in vehicles near the plane while officials investigated.
A dog from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians tribal police and another from the San Bernardino police were called to the scene to search the aircraft. About 6:15 p.m., the handler for the San Manuels' dog came out of the plane and said the dog showed "no interest in anything in there."
Then the San Bernardino police dog searched the inside and then the outside of the plane, also with negative results.
Some police dogs are trained to search for drugs and others for bombs. Dogs are never trained to search for both.
The cargo jet remained parked outside Blue's Aviation into the evening.
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