British Airways plane held in Paris over 'direct security threat'
A British Airways plane has been evacuated at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris for security reasons, after passengers were told a “direct threat” had been made towards the aircraft.
Flight BA303 was due to take off on Sunday bound for Heathrow in London when the incident occurred, with police and fire engines surrounding the plane on the tarmac.
One passenger, James Anderson, 20, said those onboard were informed by the pilot that an individual had made a direct threat against the aircraft. People were led off the plane and individually searched by armed officers, with luggage in the hold searched by dogs.
Passengers had waited on the plane for about an hour, at first being told there were “technical issues”. They were then told the aircraft was to move to another part of the airport. The passengers then noticed police and fire engines quickly surround the plane, and dozens of armed officers and firefighters got out, Anderson tweeted.
He told BBC News: “Every single person and every single item of baggage was searched. That took around an hour.”
Many ended up missing flight connections as a result, he said.
“The pilot did a great job in keeping us all calm. Everybody was very calm in getting off. The whole process was relatively fast. And we were kept in the loop the whole time,” Anderson said.
“It is the sort of thing you see on social media and maybe TV shows, you know, when an aircraft is being swarmed like that. And there were literally dozens of these vehicles and fire vehicles. And that’s when I realised that it was really serious. It was definitely scary.”
British Airways said: “The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority. Additional security checks are being carried out as a precaution. We would never operate a flight unless it is safe
to do so.”
An airport official said the plane had been evacuated for security reasons. “The incident is being dealt with,” the official said.
Anderson later tweeted: “Pilot: ‘Aircraft has been deemed absolutely safe. Authorities are satisfied with the search. We will continue on to London Heathrow’.”
“Our pilot was an absolute credit to British Airways. Extremely calm and composed, handled the situation wonderfully.”
A British Airways spokeswoman confirmed the flight had taken off at about 11.10am.