Maryland man accused of threatening to blow up plane in Oakland

A Southwest Airlines passenger was arrested Tuesday afternoon at Oakland International Airport after he allegedly threatened to blow up a plane bound for Baltimore, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said.

Arpan Shah, 32, of Maryland, was arrested around 2:30 p.m. when Southwest Airlines flight 5135 returned to Gate 6, spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said. The plane had left the gate and was taxiing out to lift off when the pilot turned around.

“It’s like somebody yelling fire in a crowded movie theater,” Kelly said.

Deputies spoke with passengers and the captain, who alleged that Shah made several threats to blow up the plane in the air. Shah was arrested on suspicion of making felony criminal threats. Kelly said federal charges are pending.

Everyone deplaned and was screened again by Transportation Security Administration personnel.

Bomb technicians and bomb-detecting dogs rechecked each bag and every compartment of the plane to see if there was a bomb. “We want people to know they’re safe,” Kelly said.

Shah, who was flying to Baltimore from Southern California, was taken to the county jail in Oakland.

The plane was delayed about an hour. It landed safely in Baltimore.
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