File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )
Four planes were forced to make emergency landings in Chile and Peru on Thursday because of bomb threats issued to Chile's civil aviation authority, the authority said in a statement.
Two of the planes were operated by LATAM Airlines and two by Sky, a low-cost Chilean airline, the aviation authority said. Sky also reported that a third plane it operated was prevented from taking off because of a bomb threat.
According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) and the airlines, inspections of three of those five planes found no bombs, and at least one plane was later allowed to resume its flight.
For four of the five flights, Santiago, Chile's capital, was either the origination or the destination.
The DGAC said that flight Sky 162 had taken off from Santiago's Arturo Merino Benítez airport and was headed to the northern city of Antofagasta when it was instructed to return to Santiago.
"In accordance with established protocols, airport security personnel and special operations police proceeded to check the places, passengers and hand and hold baggage, ruling out the presence of any bomb," the statement said.
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, the DGAC said. Peru's transport ministry said in a statement that no one had been injured and a team for deactivating explosives has been notified. "Right now the situation is under control," it said in a statement on Twitter.
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, the DGAC said.
In addition, Sky said that another of its planes was prevented from taking off from Santiago because of a bomb threat.
In addition, LATAM 800, which according to flight schedules took off from Auckland, New Zealand, performed an emergency landing in its destination of Santiago. That flight was still undergoing security checks, the DGAC added.
LATAM said in a statement that DGAC had advised it of "bomb threats" toward planes "among them some belonging to LATAM," which resulted in two LATAM planes being diverted.
"The affected passengers will be transferred by LATAM onto other flights," it said. "The authorities have not at this moment found any evidence that might put passengers at risk."
Chilean police did not respond to a request for comment.