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L.A. scrambles after plane hijack alert

Los Angeles airport scrambled amid fears of a hijacking on Monday after an alert button on a Singapore Airlines plane malfunctioned.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Concerns about a hijacking aboard a Singapore Airlines plane headed to Los Angeles International Airport ended in relief after officials determined a transponder sending a hijacking alert to ground crews had malfunctioned.

The plane landed in a remote section of the airport around 5:30 p.m. Monday with an escort from an F-16 military jet. Armed SWAT officers immediately stormed the aircraft as hostage negotiation teams rushed to the scene.

But within minutes, officials had determined the plane’s emergency hijacking signal had malfunctioned and there was no hijacking.

The alarm code must be manually entered by the pilot, who assured them that the transponder was malfunctioning, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Donn Walker.

The long-range Airbus A340-500 had 126 passengers and 18 crew members aboard.