Plane makes emergency landing
AP
11 September 2001

by Paul Singer

URL: http://news.globalfreepress.com/ewing/woodybox/ap911.html

A Boeing 767 out of Boston made an emergency landing Tuesday at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport because of concerns that it may have a bomb aboard, said Mayor Michael R. White.

The plane was sitting on a runway at the airport's west end with approximately 200 passengers on board. The mayor had said earlier that the plane was being evacuated, but an airport spokeswoman said the passengers remained inside.

It was unclear whether any passengers had been taken off the plane.

A SWAT team and bomb unit were at the scene. However, White said, "As of this moment we do not know that this plane is in stress or duress."

The airplane landed at about 10:45 a.m., but the airport released no information about the plane's intended destination. Normally, planes of this size do not land at Hopkins.

"We have no confirmed information that this was a hijacking," the mayor said. But White said authorities are still concerned that there may be a bomb aboard the plane.

Cleveland police blocked off all entrances to the airport terminal, and bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in to the baggage pickup areas.

He said airport officials reported that a second airplane in distress had passed through Cleveland airspace earlier Tuesday morning before being handed off to Toledo. Officials at Toledo Express Airport did not immediately have any information about a plane headed from Cleveland.

Six other planes were diverted to Akron-Canton Airport, said airport aviation director Fred Krum. "They were told to get down," Krum said. The planes were bound for Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Boston when they were asked to land at Akron.

White said air traffic controllers said they could hear screaming within the Boeing 767. Additional details were not available.

WTAM radio reported that NASA had closed its Glenn Research Center, which is located near the airport.

The mayor ordered the evacuation of all major public buildings downtown, including City Hall, the Justice Center and the convention center. He has asked owners of large commercial high-rises downtown to evacuate. Federal buildings downtown also were closed.

Traffic in downtown Cleveland was backed up for blocks as people tried to get home.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jacobs Field, Gund Arena and Browns Stadium also were closed, and the mayor said he asked two downtown college campuses to close.

White said there would be a parking ban on downtown streets.

LOAD-DATE: September 12, 2001


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