A security threat forced a flight from Orlando to Minneapolis to turn around to its layover location at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport on Monday night, and though police haven't commented on the nature of the threat, all passengers made it to Minneapolis safely.
Two former University of Minnesota Gopher basketball players, Oto Osenieks and Trevor Mbakwe, were onboard, and Osenieks recounted the series events on his Twitter account. TAP TO VIEW PHOTOS
About 10 minutes into the flight, the pilot said there was some sort of medical emergency, asking if there was a doctor on board, but then, told passengers there was a security threat. When American Airlines flight 1865 arrived in Charlotte, passengers said they were greeted by police and emergency crews on the ground and the pilot told the flight attendants to evacuate the plane. Passengers were ordered to leave all their belongings and phones on board and were escorted onto buses to be questioned by police. At one point, police asked if the passenger seated in 11-F was aboard, Mbawke's wife said. The couple was returning from their honeymoon.
"We were scared because it implied they were looking for someone who was on the busses with us and we had no idea who they were looking for. A couple times they came onto the bus and said, 'Is the passenger who was sitting in seat 11F in this bus?' Jenny Belsito-Mbakwe said. "Then, at one point, they said is this passenger on this bus and they named someone, and they had a woman get off the bus, and so we’re looking around, having no idea what’s going on and they’re checking all of us for weapons and bomb residue."
"[...] threat against this aircraft, so we're going to have law enforcement come over and take a look, right now that's all the information I have," the pilot can be heard telling passengers in Osenieks' video.
Police eventually cleared the plane and passengers were allowed to go back and collect their belongings. A new plane flew them to Minneapolis, where they arrived around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Police have not commented on the nature of the threat, and Belsito-Mbakwe said American Airlines told her to contact the Charlotte Police Department for more information.
"When we got back on the plane and looked back there, it appeared that row 11 was full, so I don’t know if they ever removed anyone from the flight," Mbakwe said.
Osenieks said he randomly ran into his teammate on the flight, snapped a selfie, then took more photos and videos recounting the night through his Twitter account. Despite a delayed bedtime, he photographed a welcomed free can of Coke and some almond M&Ms, which were distributed to passengers as they waited to reach their destination.
"There were some people who were crying and scared and a lot of people seemed angry," she said. "The people we were sitting by just were trying to ask questions and saying, 'Are you sure it’s safe and can we get a hotel voucher, I don’t feel comfortable traveling tonight and getting back on the plane.'"
Everyone is tucked in and ready to go home. Finally! pic.twitter.com/xTJxBiimve— Oto Osenieks (@OtoOsenieks10) July 7, 2015
Safe landing! Seems like I'm the one who's most excited to be back. Glad this is all over pic.twitter.com/DYpACa7qZA— Oto Osenieks (@OtoOsenieks10) July 7, 2015