American Airlines Twitter threat: Dutch 14-year-old girl released by police ‘pending further enquiries’

Girl tweeted @AmericanAir that she was going to 'do something really big'

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The Independent Tech

Police in Rotterdam have released a 14-year-old girl who was arrested for tweeting a “joke” terror threat to American Airlines.

The girl, who tweeted from the profile @QueenDemetriax_ and identified herself as Sarah, received a torrent of abusive messages on Twitter after her exchange with the airline, in which she pretended to be an al-Qa’ida-member from Afghanistan, was shared thousands of times.

American Airlines responded to her vow to “do something really big” by saying it “takes these threats very seriously” and said the issue would be passed on to the FBI.

The girl, identified only as Sarah, protested that she was just “joking” and that she was from the Netherlands, not Afghanistan. She later suspended her account.

Rotterdam Police has now confirmed that the girl has been “released pending further enquiries” – perhaps appropriately via its Twitter profile.

Police spokeswoman Tinet De Jong yesterday said the girl was being questioned in the company of a relative at a police station in Rotterdam after Twitter had disclosed to them the Internet address from which she had written the message.

“We are asking her right now why she sent out these messages,” she said, adding that police had asked the airline if it wanted to press charges.

“Much will depend on whether or not she's done anything like this before,” De Jong said, saying it would be for prosecutors to decide what if any charges she should face.

It is not entirely clear what Sarah was hoping to achieve with the message yesterday, but she presumably could not have been expecting the reply she then received.


Just six minutes after it was sent, American Airlines replied to say her “IP address and details” had been taken.

The exchange was then picked up on by the wider public – @AmericanAir has more than 800,000 followers – and was followed by a flurry of messages from Sarah herself expressing her regret.


Among them, she wrote: “omfg I was kidding”… “I’m so sorry I’m scared now”… “I was joking and it was my friend not me, take her IP address not mine”… “and I’m not from Afghanistan”.

American Airlines has since been swamped with copycat bomb threats on their Twitter page.

And the story was quickly eclipsed by another airline Twitter furore, after US Airways responded to complaints on its official feed by posting extreme pornographic images.