Passengers onboard two commercial airplanes got the scare of their life on Saturday, Jan. 24, when bomb threats made on Twitter were deemed credible.
The threats prompted the military to send a pair of F-16 fighter jets to escort the planes to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Although authorities have not yet released further information on who was responsible for the threats posted on Twitter, a user who goes by the name King Zortic initially sent messages to Delta around noon saying that he has a bomb on one of its planes.
"I have a bomb on one of your planes, but I forgot which one when I left the airport. Can you help me find it? It was from Portland to Atlanta, I forgot the flight number, though. It was something like DL156 or DL 1556 I forgot the order," the message read.
The same Twitter account also sent messages to Southwest Airlines saying that a bomb was placed on SWA2492 and that it would be detonated at a random time.
Airline officials said that Southwest Airlines Flight 2492 from Milwaukee, Wisc. and Delta Flight 1156 from Portland, Ore. safely landed and were searched by the bomb disposal units.
The passengers were taken off the planes. Bomb-sniffing dogs checked on the passengers and their carry-on bags. The two aircraft were searched as agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Joint Terrorism Task Force interviewed the passengers, during which Runway 27L was shut down, causing delays for other incoming and outgoing flights at the airport.
However, no bombs or anything suspicious were found in both airplanes. Normal operation returned to the busy airport, which serves almost 100 million passengers. In a Twitter post, the Atlanta airport said that both aircraft were cleared and that operations were back to normal. Airport authorities also pointed out that safety and security are their top priorities.
The bomb scare came five days after threats were also made against two Delta flights. Although authorities found the new threats credible, they said nothing about what prompted them to give credence to these treats.
FBI Special Agent Britt Johnson said that whoever posted the threats committed a number of federal crimes. As for Twitter, the company said that it may disclose information about a user's account to law enforcers provided there is a valid emergency request.