I don’t post here much, but I was on Alaska flight 11 yesterday, 2/19/08, nonstop from EWR to SEA, and we were diverted to Chicago O’Hare. They took off a passenger in a wheelchair, but cops and dogs were all over the plane. Does anyone know what happened?
What did they announce before landing in Chicago? Did you notice if the person was in a wheel chair before the flight? Or were they restrained in a chair @ ORD? Who was driving the chair? Cops or medics?
Here’s the diversion.
Alaska 11 Feb 19th Diversion
The other legs are there but broken due to ongoing tracking issues.
At one point, about one hour in, they started rendering first aid to a passenger in coach, well behind my position, including oxygen, and asking if there was a doctor aboard. Then they announced that, in addition to a passenger having a medical problem, that they had discovered “a substance” aboard, and that they would divert to Chicago. Wheels up EWR to wheels down in Chicago was 1:56, pretty good time for that leg.
Once on the ground, the plane was swarmed with LE personnel, and the “substance” was clearly in first class, well in front of my position, but while they were concerned with the “substance” they evacuated the passenger in coach. He looked to be in good shape to us, FWIW. Once all passengers were deplaned, the dogs went in. We were on the ground for approx. two hours. No further explanation was given to passengers.
Medics were driving the chair, and there were no obvious restraints. The announcement the pilot made mentioned the medical situation and the “substance.”
Jumping to conclusions and shootin’ from the hip, I’d say the substance was probably cocaine, or maybe heroin. Passenger… Britney Spears? http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b8/CheckM8/spinner.gif
If I may jump to conclusions myself, from what the pilot said before he clammed up, the “substance” alone was not enough to divert the flight, but when the medical problem cropped up, he decided to divert to Chicago on the weight of both situations. That was the last thing he said that bore on our predicament, other than to promise that he would be more forthcoming once we were airborne again.
After Homeland Security got hold of the crew, they had nothing more to say. Neither does any news outlet I have been able to find. This leads me to wonder what the big secret is.
could’ve been a banned material (like fireworks or camping fuel) that did not pose an immediate threat to the aircraft once it was secured, but was a possible indicator of either terrorist intent or in the least TSA ineffectiveness.