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Officials comment on diverted flight that landed in Wilmington after “security issues”

The diverted plane landed at ILM on Tuesday night.
The Sunwing Airlines plane made an emergency landing due to an unspecified security issue.

An airplane made an emergency landing at Wilmington International Airport on Tuesday night.

The flight was diverted around 6 p.m. — but few details about why are available.

WECT reported the flight was diverted after the crew said there was a passenger disturbance. According to WECT, a New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said an anonymous email during the flight sparked the security issue, and it’s unknown who sent or received the email.

Speaking to WHQR, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Lieutenant Jerry Brewer denied identifying an email as the cause of the concern, saying only there was a “security issue.”

The plane was originally traveling from Toronto, Canada to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. The passengers and crew were evacuated and searched, as was as their luggage. They were put in hotels overnight.

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and Wilmington Police Department Explosives K-9’s also searched the plane. According to the Sheriff’s Office, they didn’t find any security threats.

The passengers took off for the Dominican Republic in a new plane with a new crew today, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

An ILM agency spokesperson said the airport is operating normally. Sunwing and the FAA both issued statements, confirming the flight details, but neither offered additional information about the security Issues

The original plane is still at the airport, according to WECT.

Grace Vitaglione is a multimedia journalist, recently graduated from American University. I’m attracted to issues of inequity and my reporting has spanned racial disparities in healthcare, immigration detention and college culture. In the past, I’ve investigated ICE detainee deaths at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, worked on an award-winning investigative podcast and produced student-led video stories.