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Celtics arrive safely after bomb threat on team flight to Oklahoma City

The Boston Celtics lined up for the national anthem prior to an NBA preseason basketball game in October.
The Boston Celtics lined up for the national anthem prior to an NBA preseason basketball game in October. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Celtics team and staff received a major scare Saturday afternoon when they were alerted of a bomb threat on their flight from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., to Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City FBI spokesman Terry Weber told the Globe that the bomb threat was made through a call to the Oklahoma City Police Department during the Celtics’ flight.

The OCPD then informed the Celtics and were waiting for the flight to arrive at approximately 5:30 p.m. Central along with the FBI, Oklahoma City Fire Department, Oklahoma City Highway Patrol, and the Emergency Medical Services Authority.

According to Weber, nothing was found on the plane or in the luggage. An investigation into the nature of the call is ongoing.

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“We were notified by the Oklahoma City Police Department, which is protocol when there is something like this involving an aircraft,” Weber said. “Pretty much, it’s coordinating with the local law enforcements and fire departments off the plane and conduct a search on the plane to make sure there’s not a device on the plane.”

According to team spokesman Jeff Twiss, the Celtics’ contingent arrived in Oklahoma City safely on a private plane and were told to leave their bags and take a bus to the team hotel.

The plane and bags were examined, and, as of Saturday evening, the bags arrived Saturday night as some players and coaches ate dinner in the hotel.

The Celtics play the Thunder on Sunday night before flying Monday to San Antonio to complete a two-game trip.

Only a handful of team executives were aware of the bomb threat during the flight, but the entire traveling party was alerted when the flight landed.

The Celtics departed Hanscom at approximately 2:30 p.m. ET.

The NBA has been in touch with Celtics representatives, but has not released a statement.

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The FBI said it will continue its investigation.

“We’re still looking into this,” Weber said. “But typically, these things turn out to be hoax calls. I’m not saying that’s the case in this one because we still trying to finish things up, but beyond a special threat of some nature — and I can’t speak for the police department — but I doubt if there’s going to be a re-search of the plane they get back on. We’ve got to figure out where the call originated.”


Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GwashburnGlobe.