June 27 (UPI) — Authorities surrounded a JetBlue flight on the tarmac at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport late Tuesday after a hijacking alarm sounded.
The alarm was set off as Flight 1623 taxied for departure Tuesday night, and forced the crew to return to the gate, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a tweet. The plane was headed for Los Angeles.
Officials said a pilot lost contact with air traffic controllers and, after five minutes passed, had entered a hijack alert by mistake — a protocol that calls for police to surround and board the aircraft.
The plane was inspected and it was immediately determined to be a false alarm, Port Authority spokeswoman Lenis Rodrigues said Tuesday. Passengers boarded a different flight to Southern California.
JetBlue spokeswoman Paula Acevedo blamed the incident on a “radio issue”.
Passenger Alexis Curtis tweeted the alarm led to her “worst nightmare.”
“Honestly thought we were going to die,” she wrote in the tweet. “I AM ALIVE THANK GOSH.”
The FAA and JetBlue are investigating.