Bomb threat note found in bathroom onboard United Airlines flight

United Airlines Embraer 175
Robin Guess /

A note found in the bathroom of a mid-air United Airlines flight reportedly made a threat that there was a bomb on board the plane.  

Around 20 minutes before the plane was due to land at Burlington International Airport (BTV) in Vermont the pilot advised air traffic control of a “threat to the aircraft”. 

The Embraer 175, flight 3613, was traveling from Newark, New Jersey and was due to arrive at 4.30pm on March 12, 2003.  

When the plane landed, it was directed to an isolated area where the danger could be assessed by law enforcement.  

Although officials did not confirm the nature of the threat audio obtained by NBC affiliate WPTZ, which serves the Burlington area, appeared to confirm that a note was found.  

“A flight attendant just came up and said that a passenger found a note […] that said there was a bomb on board,” the pilot of the flight said. 

A passenger also told NBC5: “It feels unfair on one hand that someone left a note and ruined everyone’s days. On the other hand, authorities here handled everything perfectly and at no time did I feel unsafe.”  

Burlington Airport was closed while authorities checked the aircraft and the 65 passengers were let off the plane after a couple of hours. The airport was reopened around 7:30pm local time. 

“This investigation is ongoing and at this time there is no reason to believe this is anything but an isolated incident,” said the director of aviation at Burlington International Airport, Nick Longo.  

As well as the local police Longo thanked the FBI, Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

A spokesperson for Republic Airways, which operated the flight told NBC: “Out of an abundance of caution, the aircraft taxied to a remote location in Burlington and a precautionary security sweep of the aircraft was performed with no findings. 

“We offer our sincere thanks to local first responders for their quick and professional response and to all aboard for their patience and understanding.” 

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