Suspected missile launch at an American Airline jet investigated at LAX

Published 5 December 2005

Authorities fear the age of shoulder-mounted missile attack on civilian aircraft has arrived in the United States

On Friday we analyzed the coming battle between two approaches to defending civilian aircraft — on-board defense and ground-based defense. The debate should be hurried up: FBI agents and DHS officials have been investigating the report of a possible missile fired at an American Airlines plane taking off from Los Angeles International Airport. Sources told ABC News in Los Angeles that the pilot of American Airlines Flight 621, en route to Chicago, radioed air traffic controllers after takeoff from LAX. He told them a missile had been fired at the aircraft and missed. The plane was over water when the pilot reported a smoke trail pass by the cockpit. FBI agents believe it was a flare or a bottle rocket, but say they may never know what it was, reported KYW Newsradio 1060.

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