Hijacking report at Miami International Airport is false alarm
BY JENNIFER LEBOVICH
The report of an American Airlines flight hijacked at Miami International Airport Monday afternoon turned out to be a false alarm, authorities said.
A pilot of American Airlines Flight 535 from San Juan, Puerto Rico had inadvertently switched the plane's transponder frequency to a frequency ''that indicates a hijacking,'' said Tim Smith, an airline spokesman.
Fighter jets from Homestead Air Force Base picked up the plane and escorted it into MIA.
The flight, with six crew members and 148 passengers, landed around 1:42 p.m. and was moved to a holding area at the airport.
The alert from MIA officials prompted an immediate and massive response from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Miami-Dade police, who dispatched dozens of police cars and special response units to deal with the potential hijacking incident.
The plane was inspected on the tarmac and authorities determined the passengers and crew were in no danger.
''This is definitely unusual,'' Smith said.