A Germany-bound flight from the US state of Texas has been evacuated after being diverted to New York over a bomb threat that was phoned in, officials say. Originally bound for Frankfurt, the Lufthansa Airbus 380 double-deck passenger jet made an emergency landing at JFK Airport in New York on Monday night, after the airliner’s corporate offices received the phone call and informed the pilot of a possible threat, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The plane’s 530 passengers were evacuated upon arrival at JFK and were put onto buses shuttled to an unknown location. The plane was moved to a secure area away from the airport, police said, adding that a large number of security and rescue teams had surrounded the aircraft. “LH441 was diverted as a matter of precaution in coordination with the relevant authorities and the pilot. Passengers disembarked and LH staff will take care of them. The aircraft will be searched,” Lufthansa said in a tweet. The New York Police Department (NYPD) Counter-terrorism Unit and the Port Authority Police Department were investigating the case as a viable threat.
The NYPD’s Bomb Squad was using a team of bomb-sniffing dogs to inspect the aircraft and the entire onboard luggage. “Everybody’s still pretty calm. The situation is obviously, you know, a bit tense, but so far, things are pretty calm,” a passenger told CBS. The authorities refused to say whether they had found any kind of explosives on the aircraft. The content of the phone call was also kept secret. According to the Port Authority, over the weekend similar threats were made against other flights, including one that was destined for JFK.