Chile Traveler Fakes Bomb Threats, Disrupts Nine Flights Over Lost Luggage

Aug 17, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Nine commercial flights ground to a halt Thursday, including several that were forced to make emergency landings, after a Chilean traveler made anonymous bomb threats in frustration over lost luggage.

Franco Sepulveda Robles placed a series of anonymous phone calls to a ticket counter, a LATAM operations center in Colombia and to civil aviation authorities, according to Victor Villalobos Callao, the director of Chile’s Civilian Aviation Authority. Callao said a total of 11 threats were received, two of which were directed at flights that “did not exist”, while “a procedure” was carried out for the remaining nine to check for explosives. Callao did not specify how the procedures were executed, but stated no bombs were found.

According to Santiago police chief Diego Rojas, initial investigations indicate that Robles “planned a flight that left his suitcase, that did not return it, and he, annoyed with the companies and with the entire air traffic control system, would have made these calls to make things complicated.”

One LATAM flight carrying 83 people from Lima (LIM) to Santiago (SCL) was safely evacuated after making an unscheduled landing in Pisco, according to local officials. Two other flights operated by Chilean budget carrier Sky Airlines departing Santiago for Rosario, Argentina (ROS) and the northern Chilean city of Calama (CJC) were able to return to Santiago without incident.

Robles was arrested in the northern Chilean city of Antofagasta, and will be taken to Santiago to begin legal procedures, where he could be charged with security law infringement, which carries a penalty of up to five years in jail.

The same day Robles phoned in the bomb threats, another unnamed traveler was arrested at Santiago International Airport after joking about an explosive device in his luggage. “He was arrested immediately, it was determined to be a joke — it was a terrible joke — and today he will have to face a constitutional court. His case will be processed and he will be put at the disposal of the courts,” Rojas said.

Featured photo by MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.