An Air China flight that was already seven hours into its flight to New York City was forced to turn around and head back to Beijing yesterday because of an unspecified security threat. Officials aren’t saying much about what the reason was, but China state media says the warning first came from U.S. authorities.
“Due to threatening information received about flight CA 981, to ensure the safety of passengers, this flight has returned to Beijing Capital International Airport,” the Chinese airline said in a statement on its website, reports CNN.
The 344-passenger plane was checked out by police upon its return to Beijing, but nothing suspicious was found. Chinese social media sites had pictures showing passengers and luggage being re-screened after landing back in China. Once the aircraft was given the all clear, it was scheduled for takeoff again and should be landing at JFK airport today.
CNN says one passenger figured out they were turning around when the onboard flight map showed the switch. He asked a flight attendant what was going on, and she said it was just a map display error. The captain then apparently told passengers the reason once they were safely back on the ground.
Another plane associated with the U.S. was forced to make an emergency landing recently in Iceland on its way to Russia, after a bomb threat was called in. Nothing was found on that flight, either.