Venezuela grounds flight after getting bomb threat
December 16, 2013, 12:16 am TWN
CARACAS, Venezuela--Venezuela grounded an Air France flight after being tipped off by French authorities that a terrorist group might be planning to detonate an explosive device in midair.
Venezuelan Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres told state TV late Saturday that more than 60 technicians, bomb experts and a canine team would perform an exhaustive search of the aircraft before the flight could be reproSd. Five hours after the flight's 7:25 p.m. scheduled departure it was still unclear what the results of that search were or when they would be announced.
The precise nature of the bomb threat was not known, but Rodriguez Torres said that French authorities passed along information from a credible source that a terrorist group is seeking to place a bomb aboard an unspecified flight from Caracas to Paris, or vice versa.
“We don't want to speculate on the motives because the information comes directly from French intelligence services,” Rodriguez Torres said, adding that the information is still being processed.
Stranded passengers said they had cleared immigration and were preparing to board Air France flight 385 when they were told at the last minute that it was being delayed so that the Airbus A340-300 aircraft could be checked. No reason was given.
“We only learned reading Twitter that it could've been a bomb,” said Jesus Arandia, a 52-year-old university professor.