Irate Pilot Loses Patience After Terror-Threat Delay

Pilot threatened to evacuate the plane unless he got answers about delay.

ByABC News
September 17, 2012, 4:20 PM

Sept. 18, 2012— -- Terror threats that delayed two airplanes at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport this week prompted an intense exchange between the irate American Airlines pilot and the control tower.

"Yeah, well, they need to get off the phone and give me some information now," the pilot told the control tower. "OK. I'm the captain of this airliner and I need information pronto."

The pilot lost patience Monday when the control tower insisted that the arriving plane needed to wait in the area where it was parked before unloading passengers.

"OK. We're surrounded by emergency vehicles, there's a reason for this," the pilot is heard saying in the audio recording of the exchange. "Somebody's got to give us the reason or we're going to evacuate the aircraft. You got 60 seconds."

"We have the information, can you possibly call [number blocked out]?" the control tower asked.

"Negative, I demand the information right now over a frequency," the pilot said.

Authorities then told the pilot what they knew about the situation.

The planes had been isolated and inspected after someone called in a threat that one official described as a bomb threat and a second official said involved terrorists who were stowed away in the planes' wheel housings.

A Fin Air flight from Helsinki and the American Airlines flight from San Francisco were searched by law enforcement officials Monday afternoon after the call saying the specific flights each had a terrorist secreted in a wheel well, a Port Authority official told ABC News. A federal official also familiar with the threat described it as a bomb threat.

Both planes were eventually given the all-clear after no explosives or terrorists were found.

"The pilot came on, and he told us basically that he had no information but that we were being held due to a possible phone-in threat," Brian Teitelbaum, an American Airlines passenger, told ABC News affiliate WABC-TV Monday.

The FBI and Port Authority police conducted interviews with crew members. The incident caused a delay of about two hours, according to WABC.

"There was a little bit of nerves around in the plane, but the flight attendants and everything just kept it quiet," American Airlines passenger Ben Rosamond told WABC.