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New York-bound flights get false hijack threats
Updated: 2005-02-05 10:20

Two Delta Air Lines Inc. flights were held briefly after landing in New York on Friday after authorities received false hijack threats, police said.

"It was a big nothing, a non-incident," Port Authority police spokesman Tony Ciavolella told Reuters.

He said Port Authority police received several "erroneous reports" from "various federal agencies" about two flights -- Delta Flight 119 from Paris, which originated in Bombay, and Delta Flight 81 from Amsterdam.

The first report about Flight 119 stated that there were "seven people of interest" aboard the flight, a second tip from another agency said there was "one person of interest" on the flight, while still another report said that F-16 fighter jets were escorting Flight 119, he said.

Then Port Authority police were asked by federal authorities to check on a possible threat to Flight 81 because it was also a Delta plane arriving from Europe and was set to land at John F. Kennedy International Airport within minutes of Flight 119, the spokesman said.

"Both flights arrived on time without incident and the pilots of both planes reported no problems," Ciavolella said.

Upon landing, both planes were boarded by Port Authority police and FBI officials and nothing untoward was found, he said.

Asked if the passengers were questioned after leaving both planes, Ciavolella said, "There was nothing to check out."

Delta said in a statement that passengers of both flights deplaned normally after a brief delay and that both aircraft have resumed their scheduled service.

One of the threats was called into an embassy, a Homeland Security official said earlier, and the caller claimed there were hijackers on board.

Local and federal officials have been on high alert for hijackings after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in which four commercial planes were hijackers.

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