Air France flight gets military jet escort to NYC after threat

NEW YORK — Authorities say U.S. military jets have escorted an Air France airliner to New York’s Kennedy Airport after a threat was made against the flight.

The FBI says the jets scrambled Monday morning after an anonymous caller claimed a chemical weapon was aboard the aircraft.

The FBI later said the plane had landed safely and had been cleared.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Air France flight number 22 was escorted to John F. Kennedy airport by U.S. Air Force fighter jets following a phone threat,” the FBI said in a statement. “The plane has landed and has deboarded. There were no incidents or hazards reported on board the flight by either the passengers or its crew.”

The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed to CBS News that two F15 fighter planes escorted the plane after Maryland State police received the anonymous call.

“An anonymous call threatening commercial aviation was received at a Maryland State Police barrack earlier this morning and the information was immediately forwarded to the FBI and the state’s fusion center,” Maryland State Police said in a statement.

Port Authority police and Emergency Service units quickly staged for an emergency landing, CBS New York reported.

“We launched the two F-15 aircraft as a precautionary measure. It turned out to be a non-event and Air France landed safely at JFK,” Lt. Commander Richlyn Ivey with the U.S. Northern Command told WCBS 880. “The fighters that were launched we turned back to home station.”

An Air France official in Paris told CBS News that the warning was phoned in about one hour before the plane was due to land.

Authorities said a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight also was being checked out because of a threat. The FBI said it believes the same caller made the threats and the airliners were being screened as a precaution.

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