PARIS: An Air France flight from San Francisco to Paris was diverted to Montreal after an unspecified anonymous threat, and the passengers have landed and disembarked safely, an airline official said Tuesday.
At least 15 fire trucks and police cars met the plane, and Canadian authorities were verifying the aircraft, passengers and baggage. Air France said an investigation will be carried out into the origin of the threat, and promised to send passengers safely to their destinations. Spokeswoman Ulli Gendrot said all passengers were off the plane within a few hours of landing.
The airline said in a statement Tuesday morning that the crew of Flight 83 decided to divert “as a precautionary measure” and landed just before midnight Montreal time.
Air France officials would not elaborate on the nature of the threat. Airlines around the world face sporadic threats and occasionally divert planes as a result.
Tensions are unusually high in France, in a state of emergency since Islamic extremist suicide bombings and shootings in Paris on Nov. 13 that killed 130 people, the deadliest attacks on French soil in decades.
Passenger Gilles Raymond of San Francisco said after about five hours in the air the pilot made an announcement that they needed to land in Montreal because of technical reasons. He said once the plane had landed, the pilot said authorities would have to do a thorough security check of the plane and passengers and that everyone would have to disembark.
“Everyone is pretty relaxed,” Raymond said while still inside. “There was no panic, no stress. Everyone is waiting in their seats. Some people are sleeping, and some are checking their phones or eating ice cream that the flight attendants gave them.”
He said passengers spent at least an hour on board the plane during verifications.
“They told us they will check every passenger and that we may spend the night here,” Raymond said.