SANTO DOMINGO : A 10-year-old boy phoned a bomb threat against a flight arriving at the Dominican Republic’s main airport triggering chaos and an hours-long security lockdown, authorities said on Friday.
The boy made the threat Tuesday against a Jet air fly plane arriving from Brussels with 274 people on board and identified himself as ‘Pablo Escobar, Lord of the Skies,’ invoking the name of a notorious Colombian drug lord who was killed in 1993.
‘The phone call was made by a 10-year-old boy whose name has not been released for legal reasons,’ said a statement from the Caribbean country’s National Investigations Department, which did not immediately reveal why the child had identified that specific flight.
Re-routing of numerous flights and other security measures led to financial losses of as much as $1 million. Police were able to trace the phone call to a house on the outskirts of the capital Santo Domingo and the boy was arrested.
He was later released to the custody of relatives.
The threat of a bomb on board an aircraft of the carrier Jetairfly shut down operations at Las Americas International Airport, prompting the military to implement an emergency lockdown. Airport authorities two warning calls apparently made from the plane, and a second, reportedly received from the capital of Santo Domingo, which authorities were tracing to identify the caller.
All terminal activities were halted at 10pm with flights rerouted to the airports at La Romana and Punta Cana. However, minutes before 12 o’clock midnight resumed the operations of the terminal, including flights. A suspect of having made the call was detected as they were contacting the Las Americas control tower, warning of a bomb aboard the plane of Jetairfly flight 205. More than 270 passengers including children a board the aircraft was evacuated at the south end of the runway, as firefighters, a military helicopter and police bomb unit arrived at the scene.