July 07--The FBI is investigating a security issue that diverted a Twin Cities-bound flight departing Charlotte, N.C., Monday night.
The American Airlines Airbus A321 left Charlotte-Douglas International Airport for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport at 8:43 p.m. EDT carrying 178 passengers and returned to the airport at 9:07 p.m. EDT, American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said in an email.
In a video posted to Twitter by passenger and former University of Minnesota basketball player Oto Osenieks, the pilot can be heard on the plane's public address system informing passengers of a "threat against this aircraft."
Authorities evacuated the plane, which was operating as Flight 1865. Charlotte media organizations reported that bomb-sniffing dogs checked the plane before law enforcement officials cleared it.
Passengers departed for MSP in a different aircraft about 12:30 a.m. EDT and arrived in the Twin Cities early Tuesday, Feinstein said. Osenieks told the Charlotte Observer the second aircraft was staffed with a new flight crew.
Feinstein referred all further questions about the flight to the FBI, the lead agency investigating the incident. An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the ongoing investigation, citing bureau policy.
The nature of the security threat remained unclear Tuesday afternoon.
This report includes information from the Associated Press. Nick Woltman can be reached at 651-228-5189.
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