FBI investigates series of bomb & chemical threats against airliners
The FBI is investigating a series of anonymous threats made to US-bound passenger planes on Memorial Day, none of which proved to be credible. One incident involved US fighter jets intercepting and escorting an Air France flight to New York City.
Flight AF022 landed at JFK airport with an escort of two F-15 fighter jets as a precaution by NORAD, the joint US-Canadian monitoring force, following one of a number of threats received over the Memorial Day weekend.
After searching the plane coming from Paris, the FBI concluded that the chemical weapons threat was false.
“The plane has landed and has deboarded. There were no incidents or hazards reported on board the flight by either the passengers or its crew. The plane has been cleared,” FBI spokesman J. Peter Donald said in a statement.
According to an AFP source, the fighter planes were scrambled after the crew of the Air France flight failed to establish contact with the air traffic control after Maryland State Police received an anonymous “bomb threat” call.
As many as 10 similar threats phoned in by the same individual were made against US-bound flights on Monday.
Another threat to a JFK-bound flight was reported against a Saudia plane from Jeddah, which also turned out to be a false one. A third empty threat was issued against an American Airlines jet flying to New York from Birmingham, UK.
Threats also targeted a Delta Airlines flight from London and a United Airlines flight from Madrid, both heading to Newark, New Jersey, ABC reported. The New York Post reports a caller claimed chemical weapons were on board the Delta flight. Another anonymous call claimed a Newark-bound plane was carrying a bomb.
Another threat was registered with Boston International airport regarding a flight from Paris that also proved to be a hoax, the Boston Herald newspaper reported, citing an airport spokesman. Planes bound for Buffalo and Atlanta airports also received similar threats, yet searches have not produced anything so far, according to CNN.