Nine planes grounded by bomb threats in South America: Chilean authorities


A Chilean man angry about an airline not returning his suitcase made false bomb threats that caused up to 11 commercial flights to take emergency measures in Chile, Argentina and Peru, authorities charged on Friday. "Right now the situation is under control", it said in a statement on Twitter.

Hundreds of passengers and their luggage were grounded at airports around the region after threats were made toward planes operated by LATAM airlines, a major regional carrier, and Sky, a low-priced Chilean airline. Chile-based LATAM is Latin America's largest airline.

Chile's capital Santiago was either the origination or the destination for four out of five flights - inspections of three of planes found no bombs, and at least one was allowed to resume its flight.

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Earlier in the day, the transport ministry of Peru reported that a LATAM plane made an emergency landing in the city of Pisco due to a bomb threat. In two cases, the bomb threat was obviously a hoax, because the caller spoke about non-existent flights. That flight was still undergoing security checks, the DGAC added.

Police said they arrested Franco Sepulveda Robles, 29, in the northern Chilean city of Antofagasta after investigators linked his cellphone to the wave of threats that disrupted flights.

"The affected passengers will be transferred by LATAM onto other flights", it said. The plane with 83 passengers on board was performing a flight from Lima to Santiago.