Bomb threats force Air France flights to be diverted
Last Updated Nov 18, 2015 7:17 AM EST
p An Air France flight from Los Angeles to Paris was forced to make an emergency landing Tuesday, November 17, 2015 in Salt Lake City after a bomb threat. /p Close
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SALT LAKE CITY — Two Air France flights bound for Paris from the U.S. were diverted Tuesday night because of anonymous threats received after they had taken off, but both planes landed safely in North America, officials said.
One plane, Air France Flight 65 from Los Angeles International Airport to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, was diverted to Salt Lake City International Airport, Air France said in a statement. At about the same time, a second flight, Air France 55, took off from Dulles International Airport outside Washington and was diverted to Halifax on Canada’s East Coast, Air France said.
Passengers got off both planes safely and were taken to terminals. Authorities in both the U.S. and Canada searched the planes with dogs, officials said.
Authorities found no credible threat on the plane in Salt Lake City, according to an FBI statement released late Tuesday night. And the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said investigators found no evidence of an explosive device after they searched the plane and luggage in Halifax.
Air France later called both incidents false alerts.
Passengers in the Utah airport were boarding the plane again around 11:30 p.m. local time, Salt Lake airport spokeswoman Bianca Shreeve said. Later, the CBS affiliate there, KUTV, said the plane had departed. It was heading on to Paris and due late Wednesday morning, Air France said.
Passengers from the plane in Halifax were put up in hotels for the night, and the flight was scheduled to leave for Paris Wednesday evening and land there Thursday morning, Air France said.
RCMP Constable Mark Skinner said there were 262 people on the flight diverted to Halifax.
Keith Rosso, of Santa Monica, California, a passenger on the flight from Los Angeles, with his fiancee, said, “Everything was smooth, everything was great, everything was going swell” for the first two hours of the flight, then things changed.
“The flight attendants quickly came by and cleared plates, then there was an announcement that we were making an emergency landing and that the flight attendants were trained exactly for situations like this,” Rosso told The Associated Press by phone from the airport in Salt Lake City.
He said he looked at the flight monitor at his seat and saw that “we had made a pretty sharp right turn – we had been almost near Canada – toward Salt Lake City.”
Rosso said an FBI agent interviewed the passengers after the landing.
The threats came after last week’s attacks in Paris that killed 129 people and heightened security concerns around the world.
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