Arriving passengers held 3 hours on jet at Jacksonville airport, searched – WJXT News4JAX
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Delta flight from Atlanta to Jacksonville late Friday night was held on the tarmac for security reasons for three hours before passengers and their luggage were searched in a secure area of the airport before they were released.
News4Jax was directed to the FBI for information about the reasons for the delay and search. The agency has not responded to questions.
The plane took off from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at 11:24 p.m. It landed JAX at 12:20 a.m. but not allowed to approach a gate, according to Michael Stewart, Jacksonville International Airport’s director of external affairs.
Bottles of water were distributed to passengers as 30 law enforcement officers boarded the plane. According to passengers and concerned family members, the FBI took control of the situation.
Passengers didn’t begin deplaning until 3:30 a.m. Their bags were searched by K-9 units before they could board three awaiting buses waiting on the tarmac.
“We are evacuating plane now onto tarmac. Guns and FBI greeting us as we deplane,” one passenger told News4Jax overnight.
Passengers were then taken from the airplane to the U.S. Customs area of the airport for more searching and questioning.
Angela Milton, a mother of one of the passengers, said her daughter and the other passengers were escorted off the plane into separate areas to be thoroughly searched.
Around 4:45 a.m. — over 4 hours after the plane landed — passengers were released with their bags.
JAX tweeted passengers could be picked up from the DoubleTree Hotel on airport property.
We are aware of a security incident at JAX, and access is restricted at the terminal. If you are picking up a passenger, you can meet them at the @JAXDoubleTree on airport property.
The FBI sent us this statement “investigates violations of federal law, which includes any potential criminal act that occurs in the air. As a result, Special Agents were called to respond alongside our partners to this incident. Our investigation is ongoing, and no additional details are available for release at this time.”
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