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United flight to L.A. diverted to Chicago due to bomb threat

Bomb threat forces flight from L.A. to land in Chicago, but no danger found
Bomb threat forces flight from L.A. to land in Chicago, but no danger found 02:26

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A flight traveling to Los Angeles International Airport was diverted to Chicago and made an emergency landing after a bomb threat Wednesday morning. 

United Flight 1533, with 202 passengers, took off from Newark Liberty International Airport at 6:05 a.m. and landed at O'Hare Airport at 7:44 a.m. Chicago time.

Passengers were evacuated from this United aircraft after a bomb threat. 

Police confirmed the passengers were evacuated, and the plane was searched at a remote location at O'Hare Airport.

The FBI's Chicago office is investigating and said in a statement: "There is no indication that there is an imminent threat to public safety or the facility itself at this time."

According to a preliminary police report, a note was found in the bathroom stating the plane would blow up. CBS 2 learned a bomb-sniffing K-9 found one suspicious bag, and a robot was deployed to move it away. Police questioned the passenger who checked that bag. 

An airline source said the dog connected a scent from the threatening note and the bag. 

Rashad Robinson

A passenger on the flight told CBS 2 that he boarded a bus with police and was being taken back to the airport terminal. He said passenger's bags were checked. 

"They are taking us back to a terminal I guess they will go through bags, maybe question us," the passenger said. "We were forced to leave all of our stuff on the plane and have no idea what is happening next."

Another passenger described the evacuation and also said he had to leave everything he had on the plane. 

"I would say two hours in, they said we were making an emergency landing in Chicago, they didn't say why," the passenger said. "We couldn't get out of our seats, so when they landed, they said that someone had written on the mirror in one of the bathrooms that there was a bomb."

Passenger Ian O'Connor said, "It was just tense because when they tell you in the air there is a situation and don't identify what that situation is, you think the worst."

The same plane took off with the passengers around 2:30 p.m. Chicago time.

Passenger Dick Fickling told CBS 2 he was traveling to L.A. for work when he got a notification on his watch saying his flight was being diverted to Chicago.

"I sort of like looked up and saw everybody else in the cabin looking around, trying to figure out what was going on. And nobody said a word, no announcements, anything," Fickling said. "And then, like 10 or 15 minutes later we start to like feel it in our ears like we can tell we're descending."

He said a crew member then announced the situation on board the plane.

"That's all they would say is, it's just there's a situation," Fickling said.

He was texting with his wife, who was scrolling through X, formerly knowns as Twitter, and saw the news. 

The FBI did not say if they had anyone in custody, or what, if anything, they found onboard the plane.

On Tuesday, passengers on an American Airlines plane tackled a man who tried to open a door during a flight from Albuquerque to Chicago.

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