TORONTO - Two U.S. F16 fighter jets escorted a Panama City-bound plane back to Toronto on Friday after a bomb threat was made on board by a disruptive passenger, a federal law enforcement official told CBS News correspondent Bob Orr and CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton.
Flight 772 turned around over West Virginia about 45 minutes after its 7 a.m. (1100 GMT) departure from Toronto Pearson International Airport, said Sunwing Airlines spokeswoman Janine Chapman. She said an "agitated passenger directly threatened the aircraft" but did not elaborate on the threat.
Cell phone video shows the SWAT team hustling through the Boeing 737, barking orders to the jet's passengers, including Sharon Ramsay.
"They stormed in it was extremely scary. They came in the front and back of the plane , they yelled hands up heads hands up heads down. It was just awful," said Ramsay. "The kids were scared ... I was scared."
The official told Orr and Milton that bomb threats are common and that this was one of three threats made today alone against a transportation entity. On Thursday there were two reported bomb threats - one at Los Angeles International Airport and the other at Love field in Dallas.
NORAD Captain Jennifer Stadnyk said the two fighter jets from Ohio flew with the plane out of U.S. airspace as a "precaution." The flight back was monitored by TSA, FBI, DOD and FAA in real time, Orr and Milton reported.
Toronto police said Ali Shahi, 25, has been charged with uttering threats and endangering the safety of an aircraft. Police Const. Lilly Fitzpatrick said he's Canadian.
He is accused of telling a flight attendant " I have a bomb and I will blow up Canada," Orr and Milton reported.
Chapman said the flight, carrying 183 passengers and six crew, landed safely and no one was injured.
Chapman said the flight would depart again for Panama on Friday afternoon.