An AirDropped photo of a “suicide vest” prompted the evacuation of a JetBlue Flight in New Jersey over the weekend, according to a new report.
The Tampa, Florida-bound flight was waiting for takeoff around 7:20 a.m. on Saturday at Newark Liberty International Airport when two flight attendants received “a photo of a suicide vest or someone wearing a suicide vest,” sources told NBC 4 New York.
Those flight attendants alerted the captain, who immediately declared an emergency. The plane was taxied to a remote area of the airport and all 150 passengers were deplaned. The passengers, their luggage and the plane itself were then inspected by bomb-sniffing dogs.
JetBlue later said that the flight was “delayed for additional security screening out of an abundance of caution.”
The passengers were eventually let back onto the flight around noon. While nothing suspicious was found, authorities are still investigating the incident, including where the photo came from.
The AirDropped image was apparently sent to every iPhone onboard, including the aforementioned flight attendants. It isn’t clear who sent the photo, but authorities say that it may have been someone on board the flight.
AirDrop is one of the most beloved features of the Apple ecosystem since it lets users easily share files and photos to other Apple devices within a certain range using Bluetooth.
In addition to convenience, enterprising users have leveraged AirDrop for a variety of uses. Just recently, reports circulated that protesters in Hong Kong were using AirDrop to bypass Chinese government censorship.
But, of course, AirDrop is also used by pranksters who are able to send photos — even possibly obscene ones — to unsuspecting iPhone users. That’s because many Apple devices are set to receive AirDropped files from any Apple device around them (although they’re set to Contacts Only by default).
If you’d like to disable this behavior and prevent random AirDrops, you can head to Settings > General -> AirDrop on your iPhone and make sure that it’s set to Contacts Only.
While this probably goes without saying, don’t be the person that AirDrops any obscene or scary images to strangers around you.