Manager: Bomb threat to Owls Head’s Cape Air likely a hoax

Posted May 10, 2010, at 8:56 p.m.

OWLS HEAD, Maine — Cape Air, the only carrier at the Knox County Regional Airport, received a bomb threat Saturday evening.

The caller, a male, told a Cape Air representative that there was a bomb on one of the airplanes and that it would blow up in 10 minutes, according to airport manager Jeff Northgraves. There were no Cape Air airplanes at the airport at that time.

Northgraves said the threat was probably a hoax.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Department responded to the report at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

According to Northgraves, the call came in through a national toll-free line for Cape Air, which has offices in New Bedford, Mass. When the main line for those calls gets overloaded, the line bounces some calls to other Cape Air sites, such as the one in Owls Head.

On Saturday, the Cape Air station manager noticed the call overload and, although it was after calling hours, picked up the phone.

“It was just a fluke that he ended up answering the phone,” Northgraves said, and the caller told him there was a bomb.

The station manager was unable to get any more information from the man. Northgraves said the caller was most likely drunk, because he was slurring his words and because a woman’s voice in the background asked the man what he was doing and told him to hang up.

The Cape Air station manager in Owls Head called 911. The Knox County Sheriffs Office, Transportation Security Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Knox County Emergency Management Agency and Owls Head Fire Department were alerted. The information was relayed to the FBI and the Massachusetts State Police because every Cape Air flight from Owls Head lands in Boston.

Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison said the call was not from Maine.

The Massachusetts Port Authority said Cape Air checked every flight in Boston that day.

“It targeted Cape Air, not a specific airport or a specific plane,” said Phil Orlandella, the director of media relations with MASSPORT. “Cape Air decided to have all the airplanes checked.”

Northgraves said the last time Knox County Regional Airport received a bomb threat was at least 30 years ago.

“It was exciting. We got to test some of our emergency procedures. We were scheduled to go through them anyway,” he said.

Massachusetts State Police are investigating the call.

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