NEWS

Air France Planes Land In Halifax, Salt Lake City After Threats

11/17/2015 10:38 EST | Updated 11/18/2015 04:59 EST
Andrew Vaughan/CP

HALIFAX - Two Air France flights bound for Paris were diverted to airports in Halifax and Salt Lake City, Utah on Tuesday night due to what the airline said were "anonymous threats" that were received after both planes had taken off.

Both the RCMP and FBI said early Wednesday that nothing suspicious had been detected on either aircraft.

The airline said it requested the landings of both aircraft as a precautionary measure to "conduct all necessary security checks."

Weary passengers were taken off the flight in Halifax and were spending the night at hotel in the city or near the airport.

Genevieve Lapeyre, a physician and a safety manager at a Swiss pharmaceutical firm, said she was returning to Paris to visit with friends due to last Friday's terrorist attacks.

She said she's worried that there will be an increased number of threats to aircraft amidst the heightened security worries in Europe.

But she said the airlines have to make choices based on safety.

"I think it was the best option for the crew, they couldn't continue if there was any risk of having a bomb," she said after disembarking.

"I think I'd rather come to Halifax for the night than risk my plane exploding over the Atlantic."

Frank Mather, 59, who was travelling back from visiting a friend in Washington to his home in Scotland, said passengers remained calm after receiving word of the diversion.

"I think, given what happened in France over the last couple of days, security will be more strict than usual," he said.

"If there's a threat that something may happen to the plane, I think I'd rather come to Halifax for the night than risk my plane exploding over the Atlantic."

Nancy and Andrew Reed, who were travelling with their six-year-old son Caleb, also said travelling has become more worrying due to terrorism attacks.

"It's frightening, a little scary. I'm a little stressed out about travelling now, especially going to Paris," said Nancy Reed.

A spokesman at Halifax Stanfield International Airport said the Washington-to-Paris Boeing 777 with 262 passengers and crew landed without incident at 10:15 p.m. AT and that the airport has returned to normal operations.

Const. Mark Skinner said dogs searched the aircraft and had not "found anything that is a threat."

No credible threat

The second Air France flight, which had departed from Los Angeles, was also bound for Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, and had landed safety in Salt Lake City.

The FBI said in a statement that authorities found no credible threat. Salt Lake airport spokeswoman Bianca Shreeve said passengers in the Utah airport were boarding their plane again around 1:30 a.m. ET.

There were no reported injuries among the passengers and crew of either flight.

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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