Plane With Cargo From Yemen Lands in NY, SearchedA commercial passenger jet carrying cargo from Yemen was escorted from the Canadian border to New York City by two military fighter jets amid global scrutiny of packages sent from the Middle Eastern country.
By: Associated Press,
NEW YORK (AP) — A commercial passenger jet carrying cargo from Yemen was escorted from the Canadian border to New York City by two military fighter jets amid global scrutiny of packages sent from the Middle Eastern country.
U.S. officials said there was no known threat associated with the plane, but it was escorted to John F. Kennedy International Airport as a precaution.
Authorities on Friday were investigating whether suspicious packages shipped aboard cargo planes from Yemen to the U.S. were part of a terrorist plot.
The plane, a Boeing 777, landed shortly after 3:30 p.m. Passengers walked off the jet on two covered stairways and then onto the tarmac, dragging their luggage behind them. Several police cars surrounded the airliner.
FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said the plane — Emirates Airlines Flight 201 — was met by FBI and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police. He said the action was being taken solely because the plane, which took off from Dubai, was also carrying cargo from Yemen.
"The single piece of cargo will be examined. There is no known threat associated with this cargo," Kolko said.
Emirates said in a brief statement that it was "cooperating fully with the U.S. authorities" and would provide more information as soon as it has it available.
The flight crew didn't inform passengers of any issue with cargo while they were onboard, passenger Nick Chan said.
"We saw a lot of police and they instructed us that we would be getting on a bus. And that all our luggage would again be screened," said Chan, who was returning to Manhattan from a business trip.
Chan, 32, said passengers didn't know about the interest in their aircraft until they saw it on TV screens in the airport.
Earlier Friday, cargo jets in Philadelphia and Newark, N.J., were searched for possible suspicious packages from Yemen. No explosives were found.
U.S. fighter jets routinely escort airliners when there may be a problem in order to observe the aircraft and be prepared to take any action if necessary.
John Cornelia, a spokesman for U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command, said the Emirates airliner was escorted by a Canadian fighter based in Bagotville, Quebec, to the U.S. border, where two U.S. fighters from the Barnes Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts took over.