Air France flights to Paris diverted after threats

Air France Flight 65,  sits on the runway at Salt Lake City International Airport as FBI officers investigate the plane. Picture: Getty
Air France Flight 65, sits on the runway at Salt Lake City International Airport as FBI officers investigate the plane. Picture: Getty
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TWO Air France flights bound for Paris from the US had to be 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 Flight 55, took off from Dulles International Airport outside Washington D.C. and was diverted to Halifax on Canada’s East Coast, officials said.

Passengers got off both planes safely and were taken to terminals.

Authorities in both the US and Canada were preparing to search the planes with dogs, officials said.

The FBI was taking over the investigation of the Salt Lake City plane, which was diverted because of a threat received by phone after takeoff, Salt Lake airport spokeswoman Bianca Shreeve said.

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 reporters.

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.

In Halifax, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were leading the investigation.

RCMP Constable Mark Skinner said there were 262 people onboard the plane, which also received an anonymous threat. No further details on that threat were released.

“We received a complaint of a bomb threat and we responded to it,” Skinner said.

“They have to go to through the plane. I don’t think there is any timeline on when that plane might get back in the air.”

The threats came after last week’s attacks in Paris that killed 129 people and heightened security concerns around the world.