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Passengers evacuated from plane at LaGuardia due to 'security threat'

Passengers evacuated from plane at LaGuardia due to 'security threat'
An Air Canada plane takes off over a Delta Airlines plane on the runway at LaGuardia Airport in New York City on August 8, 2016. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 9 (UPI) -- People aboard a flight arriving at New York City's LaGuardia Airport on Saturday were forced to evacuate on the tarmac because of a potential security threat, aviation officials said.

The plane, which landed safely at LaGuardia shortly after 3 p.m. EST, was evacuated "in response to reports by passengers of suspicious and erratic behavior by a fellow passenger," according to a statement issued by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to CNN and WABC-TV.

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American Airlines said American Eagle Flight 4817, operated by Republic Airways, had arrived safely at LaGuardia en route from Indianapolis when passengers were deplaned on the taxiway "due to a potential security issue."

The evacuation was carried out "without incident," the airline said.

The Port Authority told CNN the pilot alerted authorities to an emergency situation after landing the craft, which had 76 passengers and six crew aboard.

"Law enforcement and first responders met the aircraft and the passenger involved in the incident has been taken into custody," Republic Airways told the broadcaster.

One traveler aboard the flight told WABC-TV the passenger's behavior triggered a panic as people pushed each other to get off the plane.

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"We landed really hard and then out of nowhere people were screaming in the back of the airplane," the passenger said. "Some guy apparently may have had a bomb on him. It was a suspicion of a bomb and then everyone was just shoving and pushing, jumping out of the airplane. They launched a slide. People were falling off the slide left and right. They were bleeding. It was crazy."

Video posted to social media showed a sizable police response to incident. One video showed a man being held face down on the ground by emergency personnel.

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