BOMB scare diverts United Airlines flight to Iceland

Tuesday, May 29th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ A bomb threat written in lipstick on a bathroom mirror forced a United Airlines flight to Chicago from Germany to land in Iceland, where bomb-sniffing dogs searched the 747, officials said Tuesday.

No bomb was found after the 10-hour inspection, and the flight was scheduled to resume its trip to Chicago on Tuesday.

United Airlines Flight 945 from Frankfurt landed in Iceland at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Monday so the crew and local authorities could search the 747's cabin and cargo area, United said.

A police official in Iceland said the message on the mirror read ``Bomb. 1021'' and that Icelandic officials understood this to mean 10:21 Eastern Daylight Time in the United States. The message did not specify a time zone.

``This was not a childish prank, absolutely not,'' said Johann Benediktsson, district commissioner for police and customs at Keflavik airport. ``The captain and crew took the decision that this was an emergency and we reacted to the situation.''

Werner Klaasen, a United spokesman in Frankfurt, said a passenger noticed the threat.

``The captain decided to do a full inspection of the plane immediately,'' he said.

The 297 passengers on the plane spent the night in Iceland and their relatives were notified about the delay, Klaasen said.

The airline was unable to determine who used the lipstick to pen the threat, but Iceland airport authorities were still investigating the incident, he added.