United flight diverted to Chicago after reports of possible bomb threat

A United Airlines flight headed to Los Angeles from New Jersey was diverted to Chicago after the crew reported a safety issue Wednesday morning.

The FAA says Flight 1533 landed safely at Chicago O'Hare International Airport around 7:40 a.m. local time.

The Boeing 787 departed from Newark Liberty International Airport and was headed to Los Angeles International Airport, but was on the ground in Chicago for about seven hours.

 "The tolerance of risk is so low that anytime there is an incident, a fight, an onboard bomb threat, you have no choice," said Joseph Schwieterman, a transportation professor at DePaul University.

A passenger on the flight said someone allegedly went into the bathroom and made a bomb threat. The passenger posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that everyone aboard had to leave their bags and belongings on the plane.

Another passenger on social media wrote that they weren't told why they were stopping in Chicago until they got off safely and emergency vehicles began to swarm the plane.

A spokesperson for the Chicago Field Office of the FBI says the incidents in the sky have been consistently occurring coast to coast.

"A lot of minor crimes actually become federal crimes in the sky that would bring us in, but definitely, if you had something such as a bomb threat, we would be the first ones you would call in to respond to that," said Special Agent Siobhan Johnson with FBI’s Chicago Field Office. "The majority of crimes that are going to involve aircraft and airports aren’t going to be large-scale incidents. They are going to be very minor things that really do not threaten the greater population."

In a statement about Wednesday’s event, the FBI Chicago Field Office said, "There is no indication that there is an imminent threat to public safety or the facility itself at this time."

Both the FBI and FAA are investigating.