Nine planes in Chilean, Peruvian and Argentinian airspace have been forced to make emergency landings over bomb threats, Chile’s Civil Aviation Authority said.
For five of the flights, Chile’s capital of Santiago was either the point of origin or the destination. A total of 11 bomb threats were made, but authorities deemed two of these “fictitious,” as they related to flights that were not operating.
Peruvian officials confirmed that a Latam Airlines flight 2369 from Lima, Peru, to Santiago, Chile, was forced to land at a regional airport in Pisco, Peru early on Thursday afternoon. Peruvian authorities had received a tip-off about the supposed bomb on board from their Chilean counterparts.
Latam flight 433 from Mendoza, Chile to Santiago was evacuated on the runway due to another bomb threat, while Latam flight 800, coming from Auckland, New Zealand, performed an emergency landing at its destination of Santiago.
A plane traveling from Buenos Aires bound for Chile was forced to land in the central Argentinian city of Mendoza just before 7am on Thursday. The airport was evacuated and closed, and emergency services investigated the incident.
Sky Airlines, Chile’s second-largest airline behind Latam, had at least three of its flights affected. Sky Airlines flight 543 was held up at Rosario Airport in Argentina. Meanwhile, Sky flight 524 took off from Mendoza, Chile, and made an emergency landing in Santiago before proceeding to Rosario; and Sky flight 162 took off from Santiago, before being instructed to return and land.
Another two flights were grounded, but Chilean aviation authorities provided no further details.
Upon inspection, all of the planes were declared free of explosives. No information was provided as to who made the bomb threats, or if there was any connection between them. Police are currently trying to trace their origin.
“We always have an abandoned suitcase or two, that’s normal,” Chilean Civil Aviation Authority head Victor Villalobos Collao told a press conference at Santiago airport, “But this is a totally exceptional case.”