An international US Airways flight from Shannon International Airport in Ireland was forced to land in Philadelphia Wednesday after it received an unsubstantiated bomb threat.
WCAU-TV reported an unknown male called in the threat to the airport. The flight was scheduled to land at Philadelphia International Airport at 2:05 p.m. EDT and landed seven minutes early. The call was made at 12:45 p.m., according to WPVI-TV.
"All is clear and the bomb threat appears to be unfounded," said Victoria Lupica, a Philadelphia airport spokeswoman.
The 171 passengers, eight crew members and luggage were removed from the plane, escorted onto buses, screened and interviewed in a secure area before they were released, reported WCAU-TV. Inbound flights were temporarily delayed during the investigation, according to Lupica.
"We were aware of a possible security issue with the flight and out of an abundance of caution taxied the aircraft to a remote location, where it was met by law enforcement and emergency personnel," said airline spokesman Andrew Christie.
The Boeing 757 was scheduled to land in Philadelphia and continue to Pittsburgh. Passengers would have crossed through screening facilities at Shannon Airport before boarding the plane. FBI Spokeswoman Carrie Adamowski told the Associated Press agents were assisting Transportation Security Administration officials in the investigation.
"Once we landed, all of a sudden we saw all these cop cars," Molly Cross, one of the passengers, told WCAU-TV. "An FBI agent got on the plane and told us that someone made a bomb threat or something like that."
Federal agents faced a similar ordeal in September 2012, when Philadelphia resident Kenneth Smith called in a threat against a romantic rival, who he claimed had liquid explosives with him. The U.S. Airways flight, which was headed for Texas from Philadelphia, was flying over Harrisburg when it was forced to return to the airport.
Smith was sentenced to 15 months in prison in April. He was also ordered to send written apologies to the 38 passengers who were on board and pay more than $17,000 in restitution.