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Threats made to 2 Southwest flights with ties to O.C., Phoenix

May 8, 2012 | 10:32 pm

Two Southwest Airlines flights with ties to Orange County and Phoenix were stopped Tuesday night after threats were made to the planes, authorities told The Times.

The first incident began about 7:30 p.m. after flight 1184 arrived at Sky Harbor International Airport from John Wayne Airport, the FBI said.

The plane was taken to an isolated area of the airport after authorities received an unspecified threat, said Special Agent Manuel Johnson of the FBI's Phoenix division.

He said the plane was searched, passengers were screened again and the flight was cleared. It was headed to Tulsa, Okla.

About an hour later, Southwest flight 811 at John Wayne Airport was taken to an isolation area after authorities received a bomb threat, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department. 

 Lt. Joe Balicki told The Times the "phone threat was received by an outside agency."

 "It was preparing to take off," he said. The flight was bound for Phoenix.

 Bomb squad members searched the plane Tuesday night but found no explosive device. 

 The FBI was probing both incidents. "As to whether the two were related, clearly that's under investigation," FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller in Los Angeles said.

Southwest spokeswoman Ashley Dillon said that no passengers were injured and that the flight leaving Orange County was cleared for takeoff. However, the flight was cancelled because of a noise curfew at the airport, she said.


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--Andrew Blankstein (twitter.com/anblanx) and Robert J. Lopez (twitter.com/LAJourno)