Air France Bomb Scare

Air France Bomb Scare

AF Flight 433 makes unscheduled landing in Brazil

By Felipe Santiago
Epoch Times Staff
Created: Jul 11, 2010 Last Updated: Jul 12, 2010

RIO DE JANEIRO—A false bomb threat forced an Air France plane to make an unscheduled landing on Saturday night in Guararapes Gilberto Freyre International Airport, in Recife, Brazil. The flight came under suspicion after an unidentified woman called into the airport control tower warning about an explosive.

“The Airport Security Program has been triggered and the Emergency Operations Center activated, with members of Aircraft Comand and the Federal Police to manage the situation,” said the media department of the airport on Saturday.

The Boeing 747-400 landed at 7:53 p.m. local time, in a remote area of the runway, far from the airport building. The 405 passengers and 18 crewmembers from flight AF 433, which left Rio de Janeiro en route to Paris, were evacuated safely. For about 30 minutes, all takeoffs and landings from the airport were canceled.

“The procedures were … positioning the aircraft in a remote area; immediate discharge of all passengers; re-inspection of all passengers and hand luggage; re-inspection of hold baggage,” said the airport statement.

According to local media, the passengers were taken to hotels while the aircraft was inspected.

At 2:25 p.m. local time on Sunday, the airport issued a notice to the press saying no bomb had been found. “The work of the Federal Police in the inspection of baggage of passengers of Air France Flight was finished and they did not find any type of explosive device.”

Despite being a false alarm, the episode has left the country uneasy, reminding Brazilians of May 31, 2009, when an Air France Airbus with 228 people on board, making a connection between Rio de Janeiro and Paris disappeared from radar and fell into the Atlantic Ocean because of strong turbulence.

On Sunday night at 9:52 p.m, the airport confirmed the departure of Flight 433, which was renamed 419, to Paris.

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