News World Nine planes receive hoax bomb threats in South America

Nine planes receive hoax bomb threats in South America

LATAM Airlines, Latin America’s largest airline, was one of two low-cost carriers targeted. Photo: Twitter
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A plane which left from Sydney is among nine aircraft which have been targeted by hoax bomb threats issued to Chile’s civil aviation authority.

LATAM Airlines Flight 800 went from Sydney to a stopover in Auckland before heading on to Santiago, where it performed an emergency landing.

At least two of the planes affected by the fake bomb threats were operated by LATAM and three by Sky, a low-cost Chilean airline.

Victor Villalobos Collao, the director general of Chile’s civil aviation authority (DGAC), said 11 threats were made in total.

All of the planes were declared free of explosives, and at least one plane was later allowed to resume its flight, he said.

He said calls warning of bombs onboard flights were made to LATAM’s offices and the civil aviation authority, and police are now trying to trace their origin.

“We always have an abandoned suitcase or two, that’s normal,” he said.

“But this is a totally exceptional case.”

For four of the flights, Santiago, Chile’s capital, was either the origination or the destination.

One flight, Sky 162, took off from Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez airport and was headed to the northern city of Antofagasta when it was instructed to return to Santiago.

Flight LATAM 2369, originating from Lima, the capital of Peru, and heading for Santiago, was forced to land in the southern Peruvian city of Pisco.

Peru’s transport ministry said no-one had been injured and a team for deactivating explosives has been notified.

Another Sky flight, Sky 524, is understood according to flight schedules to have taken off from the Argentine city of Mendoza.

It made an emergency landing in Santiago before proceeding to Rosario in Argentina.

Sky said another of its planes, Flight 166, was prevented from taking off from Santiago because of a bomb threat.

Mr Collao said other flights were checked in Iquique, another city in northern Chile, Antofagasta and Mendoza.

“The affected passengers will be transferred by LATAM onto other flights,” the airline said.

“The authorities have not at this moment found any evidence that might put passengers at risk.”