CHICAGO (CBS)–A bomb threat diverted a United Airlines flight en route to Chicago from Rome Monday.
United flight UA971 departed Rome around 10:30 a.m. local time, and was scheduled to land at Chicago O’Hare International Airport around 2 p.m. before it was diverted to a small airport in Ireland.READ MORE: Chicago Police Union President Urges Aldermen To Repeal Mayor's Vaccine Mandate For City Workers; 'This Tyrant At The Top Needs To Stop What She’s Doing'
The plane had been in flight for about four hours when a “potential security concern” caused pilots to divert the flight to Shannon Airport, on the western side of the country, according to United officials.
Pilots diverted the plane after discovering the threat, which may have been written on a bathroom mirror, CBS News reports. Another threat was also found.
Irish police interviewed passengers and crew and swept the aircraft for explosives after it landed.
CBS News reports the Boeing 767-300 had 118 people on board (107 passengers, eight flight attendants and three pilots), as it was flying between Rome and Chicago O’Hare.
Passenger Elizabeth Aragon–a student at northwest suburban Woodstock’s Marian Central High School–was returning from a trip from Europe with eight other students and five adult chaperones.
Speaking with CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole via Skype Monday afternoon, Aragon recounted the moments when passengers were told there was a problem on the plane.READ MORE: Another Victim Of Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy Identified: Francis Wayne Alexander, Of North Carolina
The flight crew was vague about what was happening, Aragon said.
An eerie silence filled the plane after passengers were told the plane was landing in Ireland instead of continuing onto Chicago.
That’s when Aragon grabbed her friend’s iPad and made an emotional FaceTime call to her mom back in Illinois.
“I just started crying and I said, ‘mom, I don’t know what’s going on–I’m really scared–I love you.'”
Just as the plane landed, the wifi connection went out, leaving Aragon’s mom with the fright of her life for the next 20 minutes until her daughter could call her again.
Aragon said everyone on board was staying the night in Shannon while the investigation continued. The passengers and crew were expected back in Chicago Tuesday.
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