Mary Purcell Called in Bomb Threat to Keep Family From Flying on Eve of 9/11 Anniversary
A New York woman really didn't want her mother and brother flying on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the September 11, terrorist attacks -- so she called in a bomb threat, according to federal authorities.
Mary Purcell, 37, of Lake Ronkonkoma, anonymously called the Tucson Airport Authority Police on the morning of September 10, to inform them that she'd overheard her boyfriend talking about plans to blow up Southwest Flight 2475 out of Tucson -- the same plane her brother and mother were supposed to be on to take them back to New York.
According to court documents first obtained by the New York Post, Purcell called airport authorities twice, each time claiming she knew of a plot to blow up the plane.
Purcell's threat caused an emergency freak out at the Tucson International Airport -- airport police and FBI agents scrambled to find the faux-explosives and all of the luggage booked onto the flight had to be removed. Authorities even brought in the bomb squad and nine bomb-detector dogs to search for explosives.
From the Post:
Passengers were screened twice before flight, hand luggage was tested for trace of explosive or chemical residue, and the entire Tuscon airport was put on a heighten security alert, officials said.
No explosives were found during the search, officials said.
FBI agents traced the anonymous calls to the home of Purcell's mother -- and that's where they found Purcell, who later admitted that the bomb threat was a hoax.
Purcell told authorities she phoned in the threat because she feared for the safety of her family members as the country was in the midst of a heightened security alert due to the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
Purcell's been charged with false reporting a bomb threat -- she's due in court later today.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.