An airline bomb hoax originally thought to be the work of a young man aboard the plane’s friends ultimately ended up being a nonexistent threat called in by the twenty-something’s ex-girlfriend, resulting in a serious delay for all passengers aboard the flight.
As it happens, the airline bomb hoax accusing US Airways Flight 1267 passenger Christopher Shell, 29, of posing a threat to the passengers and crew aboard the plane was entirely false. A caller had suggested that Shell, who travels frequently for business, was carrying liquid explosives aboard the plane packed with more than 100 passengers and crew members.
Shell was traveling from his Philadelphia home to his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas on his 29th birthday, police say, when the airline bomb hoax was called in. SWAT teams, local cops and an FBI bomb squad swarmed the remote corner of Philadelphia International Airport after the pilot told passengers the plane had instrument troubles and had to turn around.
Shell even took to Twitter to complain before the airline bomb hoax was revealed, complaining publicly on the microblogging service about the airline’s decision to return to the airport:
“Im not going to lie, I’m pretty disappointed in US Airways currently … We just spent a half hour in the air to be notified that the plane, ‘has technical difficulties’ and had to fly back! Flight 1267 CANCELLED.”
After the plane landed, a large number of law enforcement officials boarded and, reports a fellow passenger, apprehended Shell roughly:
“These guys entered from the rear of the plane. Next thing I know, it almost sounded like a stampede. Here are four Philadelphia SWAT guys, all in black with laser sights on their weapons, weapons drawn and focused on this guy.”
After investigators swept the plane and discovered the airline bomb threat to be false, they determined the incident to be a “nasty trick” aimed at Shell. The ex-girlfriend of the man and her current boyfriend may face federal charges after the ill-conceived plot.