False Alarm Diverts Air France Flight to Montreal

PARIS (AP) -

Air France said that an anonymous threat which led it to divert to Montreal its flight AF083 between San Francisco and Paris on Tuesday was a false alert.

“After a full security search, false alert confirmed by local authorities following an anonymous threat,” the carrier said in its social media account.

The plane had taken off for Paris again.

At least 15 fire trucks and police cars met the plane, and Canadian authorities were verifying the aircraft, passengers and baggage. 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.

Tensions are unusually high in France, which is in a state of emergency since Islamic terrorists carried out suicide bombings and shootings in Paris on Nov. 13, killing 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.