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. 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
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees