Aviation News

May 4, 2010

Dramatic Control Tower Audio: Flight Carrying Times Square Bomber Ordered Back to Gate Moments Before Takeoff


In a turn of events worthy of a Hollywood action film, the Emirates flight aboard which suspected Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad was attempting to escape to the Middle East was just seconds from taking off Monday night before being hurriedly ordered to return to the gate.

Emirates Flight 202, the late evening service from New York’s JFK Airport to Dubai, was next in line for takeoff and was being instructed to taxi into position on the runway when the air traffic controller suddenly received a note and passed along urgent instructions for the plane to turn around.

“Emirates 202 heavy, Runway 22 right position and…..actually, i’ve got a message for you to return to the gate immediately.”

The confused flight crew is heard acknowledging the instructions and follows directions for taxiing back to the terminal. Upon arrival, Shahzad was removed from the aircraft by law enforcement. All passengers were rescreened and the Boeing 777-300 aircraft was carefully searched before being allowed to depart at around 6:30am, about seven hours late.