ATHENS – An Athens to New York Emirates flight was ordered to turn back to Greece while over Italy after a tip from the United States about a suspicious passenger but authorities found no threat aboard.
Greek authorities were alerted but it wasn’t said what the fear was not anyone identified but it raised so much alarm that two F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to escort the flight back to Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos airport.
Police said the plane was ordered to fly back as part of an information inquiry but following checks on the passengers and the plane, they did not find the person the information was about or anything else suspicious, said Reuters.
Another Emirates flight to Dubai was not allowed to take off from and all passengers were thoroughly checked also for security concerns but nothing suspicious was found, police sources added.
New York TV station NBC4 said it was believed that a man on board planned to carry out an attack in the United States, citing an unnamed law enforcement source but no further details about it.
Greece’s state-run ERT TV said also reported the American alert but the Associated Press said police would not confirm it but that passengers were checked when the flight went back to Athens. It wasn’t said if it was then allowed to fly to New York.