JetBlue flight evacuated at Newark Airport after suicide vest photo AirDropped to passenger iPhones

Bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in as part of an 'abundance of caution' after the photo was shared onboard

Dave Maclean
New York
Sunday 14 July 2019 15:32
Boarding now: JetBlue's terminal at New York JFK airport
Boarding now: JetBlue's terminal at New York JFK airport

A plane was evacuated after someone sent a photograph of a suicide vest to passengers and flight attendants on board.

The unknown sender used Apple’s AirDrop feature, which allows users to easily and anonymously transfer files to other iOS devices using Bluetooth.

Authorities say the Florida-bound plane was about to take off from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey when the image was widely shared on board.

A member of the crew on JetBlue flight 573 alerted the captain, who informed authorities at about 7.45am on Saturday.

The plane returned to the gate and the 150 people on board were asked to leave the aircraft, and their luggage was re-screened and examined by police bomb-sniffing K-9 dogs.

“We pull up to the gate and then we pull away and the captain comes on and says there's been a security threat,” Thomas Desmond told NBC News.

“It was nervous when you see Port Authority police officers coming onto your plane and you just have no idea what's going on.”

The culprit was likely one of those on board, as AirDrop only works with those in close proximity to the sender. However, they were not traced.

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JetBlue said the additional security screening was carried out due to “an abundance of caution.”

The flight eventually departed just before 11.30am, with no knock-on effects to other flights departing or arriving at Newark.

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