Fighter Jets Escort Air France Plane to JFK After Weapons Threat
Air France Flight 22 received an F16 fighter escort into New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport this morning after a threat was called in, ABC News reported.
A senior U.S. official told ABC that the anonymous call from an untraceable line was received by a Maryland State Police Fusion Center at 6:45 a.m. The caller made what the official called a “chemical weapons threat,” stating that more than one flight had devices on board.
ABC News said that U.S. officials were unable to reach Air France representatives after receiving the threat because it is also a state holiday in France.
Two American F16 fighter jets were then scrambled, and followed the Air France plane in such a way that passengers and crew could not spot them, according to ABC.
Not considered a credible threat by officials even before landing, authorities still exercised caution. After touching down at JFK, the Airbus A-330 was taken between two runways and put in lockdown. A police dispatch sent out the meet the plane told ABC the area is known as the “hijack site.”
ABC’s federal official source said that nothing dangerous was found in the initial investigation.
The Associated Press later reported there were multiple phoned threats, thought to be from the same source. A Saudi Arabian Airlines flight flying into JFK was checked, then cleared, and an American AIrlines flight from Birmingham, England was slated to be checked on landing at JFK as well, but the inquiry was canceled when the threat's credibility was discounted.
As the story developed, another AP report revealed more threatened planes flying into other airports on Monday. A United flight arriving at Newark Liberty Airport from Madrid was cleared of passengers and inspected away from the terminal, United spokeswoman Mary Clark told the AP.
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines said a Paris-to-Boston flight and a London-to-Newark flight were also targets of the threats.
A threat made against a Paris-to-Boston airliner was designated not credible, but Massachusetts Port Authority spokesman Matthew Brelis didn't tell the AP if it was the same Delta plane mentioned above. He did not say the details of the threat or if the plane was searched.
Maryland State Police, who recieved the initial phoned threat, referred it to FBI, and had no further comment.
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