A bomb threat on board an El Al flight bound from New York to Tel Aviv prompted France and Switzerland to deploy military jets as escorts, though the plane was continuing on its journey, Swiss and Israeli officials said Tuesday.
The Swiss air force said in a statement that it deployed jets around 8:30 a.m. on a so-called “hot mission,” that accompanied El Al Flight 002 from John F. Kennedy airport. Vladi Barrosa, a spokesman for the Swiss government-run air navigation service Skyguide, said the plane left Swiss airspace safely into Austrian airspace.
In Israel, El Al spokeswoman Dana Hermann said “an anonymous tip was received. The flight is continues as planned to Tel Aviv.”
The incident caused concern among locals in German-speaking Switzerland after two sonic booms echoed after two Swiss F/A-18 aircraft were deployed for the escort. Barrosa, working in the Zurich area, said he too heard the blasts: “I thought my windows were about to burst.”
He said French military jets had also escorted the flight prior to its entry into Swiss airspace, but he did not have further details. French officials had no immediate comment.