Four planes make emergency landings in Chile and Peru after bomb threats

1 / 2
A LATAM passenger plane is seen at the international airport in Chile. (Shutterstock photo)
2 / 2
Passengers wait for check-in for their flights at the departures area of Latam airlines inside the international airport in Santiago, Chile, on August 16, 2018. (REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido)
Updated 17 August 2018
0

Four planes make emergency landings in Chile and Peru after bomb threats

SANTIAGO: Four planes were forced to make emergency landings in Chile and Peru on Thursday because of bomb threats issued to Chile’s civil aviation authority, the authority said in a statement.
Two of the planes were operated by LATAM Airlines and two by Sky, a low-cost Chilean airline, the aviation authority said. Sky also reported that a third plane it operated was prevented from taking off because of a bomb threat.
According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) and the airlines, inspections of three of those five planes found no bombs, and at least one plane was later allowed to resume its flight.
For four of the five flights, Santiago, Chile’s capital, was either the origination or the destination.
The DGAC said that flight Sky 162 had taken off from Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez airport and was headed to the northern city of Antofagasta when it was instructed to return to Santiago.
“In accordance with established protocols, airport security personnel and special operations police proceeded to check the places, passengers and hand and hold baggage, ruling out the presence of any bomb,” the statement said.
Flight LATAM 2369, originating from Lima, the capital of Peru, and heading for Santiago, was forced to land in the southern Peruvian city of Pisco, the DGAC said. Peru’s transport ministry said in a statement that no one had been injured and a team for deactivating explosives has been notified. “Right now the situation is under control,” it said in a statement on Twitter.
Another Sky flight, Sky 524, is understood according to flight schedules to have taken off from the Argentine city of Mendoza. It made an emergency landing in Santiago before proceeding to Rosario in Argentina, the DGAC said.
In addition, Sky said that another of its planes was prevented from taking off from Santiago because of a bomb threat.
In addition, LATAM 800, which according to flight schedules took off from Auckland, New Zealand, performed an emergency landing in its destination of Santiago. That flight was still undergoing security checks, the DGAC added.
LATAM said in a statement that DGAC had advised it of “bomb threats” toward planes “among them some belonging to LATAM,” which resulted in two LATAM planes being diverted.
“The affected passengers will be transferred by LATAM onto other flights,” it said. “The authorities have not at this moment found any evidence that might put passengers at risk.”
Chilean police did not respond to a request for comment.


‘Results’ needed from Myanmar over Rohingya return: UNHCR head

Updated 31 min 43 sec ago
0

‘Results’ needed from Myanmar over Rohingya return: UNHCR head

  • A UN fact-finding mission called for Myanmar’s top generals to be prosecuted for “genocide”
  • Myanmar pejoratively labels the Rohingya as “Bengali,” implying they are illegal interlopers

YANGON: Myanmar must “show results” to convince Rohingya refugees to return, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said Friday at the end of his first visit to Myanmar since the crackdown against Rohingya Muslims in 2017.
A brutal military campaign in western Rakhine state forced some 740,000 Rohingya over the border into Bangladesh.
Around one million Rohingya now languish in sprawling refugee camps from various waves of persecution.
A UN fact-finding mission called for Myanmar’s top generals to be prosecuted for “genocide” and the International Criminal Court (ICC) has started preliminary investigations.
During his visit Grandi spoke with both Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine Buddhist communities in Maungdaw and Buthidaung in northern Rakhine, the epicenter of the violence.
He also held discussions with officials in capital Naypyidaw, including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, describing all talks as “constructive.”
“My message is: ‘please accelerate’, because it has been very slow in the implementation in this first year. We need to show results,” he told AFP in an interview in Yangon.
“This is not enough to convince people to come back,” he said.
Grandi visited the camps in Bangladesh in April.
The two countries have signed a repatriation agreement but so far virtually no refugees have returned, fearing for their safety and unconvinced they will be granted citizenship.
Myanmar pejoratively labels the Rohingya as “Bengali,” implying they are illegal interlopers and the community has had its rights eroded over decades.
Gaining independent access to northern Rakhine is difficult with most journalists, observers and diplomats only allowed on brief chaperoned visits.
Grandi defended the UNHCR’s involvement in a plan by the Bangladeshi government to move some 100,000 refugees onto low-lying island Bhashan Char.
The area in the Bay of Bengal is prone to flooding and cyclones.
Rights groups oppose the scheme that has also so far been universally rejected by the Rohingya themselves.
The refugee agency must be “involved” to have the necessary information in order to take a stance on the issue, Grandi said.
“We’re still at that stage, no more than that.”
He also visited camps near Rakhine’s capital Sittwe, where nearly 130,000 Rohingya have been confined since a previous bout of violence in 2012.
Myanmar has announced it will close the camps but many are skeptical the displaced will enjoy more freedoms.
Grandi said the UNHCR would reconsider its role in providing services if conditions did not substantially improve.
“To simply transform the camps, upgrade the camps, upgrade the houses, for example, but leave them in the same situation will not be a solution,” he said.