Threat Prompts Evacuation, Search Of Jet
September 20, 2011

Jacksonville Airport Authority Says Woman Gave Threatening Note To Crew

A Jacksonville woman boarding an Atlanta-bound Delta flight handed a threatening note to a crew member Tuesday morning, prompting an evacuation and search of the aircraft, according to the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

Delta 2380, which was scheduled to take off at 10:10 a.m., was kept at the gate in Jacksonville for two extra hours. Bomb-sniffing dogs were brought on the Boeing 737, but authorities said nothing suspicious was found.

Airport officials said the note said the woman was going to hijack the plane. Officials said the woman did not check any bags or have any carry-on bags.

Authorities said the woman told them she was going to kill herself, so she was committed under the Baker Act, which calls for temporary detention for a mental health evaluation and treatment.

They also said she had made a similar threat at Orlando's airport in 2003.

"The person that we detained, we've learned that she suffered from some mental problems. She is taking some medications," said Director of Aviation Security Wayne Clark. "We're coordinating with all our federal partners -- the FBI and the TSA, and they'll get with the U.S. Attorney to determine what appropriate charges, if any, should be brought against her."

The pilot asked for a more thorough search of the plane as a precaution. Following a search of the plane in which nothing suspicious was found, all 200-plus passengers were allowed back on board and the plane took off for Atlanta.

Clark said that there were a few other flight delays because the gate was shut down for two hours.

"It would scare me, but I would not do anything random until it escalated or maybe worse," said one passenger who was on a different flight Tuesday.

"You have to stay calm. You don't want to escalate the situation," said passenger Jessica Tautreau, who was also flying on a different plane. "You don't know if your panic is going to incite panic in everyone else and make a situation that would have been controllable completely out of control."