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Fighter jets scramble to escort jetliner after chemical weapons threats

Posted at 12:10 AM, May 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-26 00:10:30-04

NEW YORK -- Law enforcement scrambled on a busy holiday weekend to make sure airplanes were safe after at least ten threats were phoned in to authorities Monday.

The FBI confirms that the first threat came in to Maryland State Police on Monday morning. Two F-15 fighter jets scrambled to escort the plane after an unidentified caller claimed an Air France airline, in route from Paris to New York’s JFK Airport, was carrying chemical weapons.

Marcia Thom-Kaley, a Virginia college professor, says her daughter was traveling from Paris to JFK airport on Monday morning, when she heard about the threat.

“I had a student today who said, ‘Oh, did you hear about the bomb threat in New York?’ I was like… what!” she said.

Thom-Kaley says luckily her daughter and a friend were traveling on later flights.

Marcia Thom-Kaley

Marcia Thom-Kaley

“As a Mom, you’re always worrying,” Thom-Kaley said. “I woke up at two a.m. knowing they were at the airport and going through security trying to get on their flights.”

Law enforcement officials say they received multiple threats aimed at several airlines landing in numerous cities, including New York, Newark, Buffalo and Atlanta.

Richmond International spokesperson, Troy Bell, says RIC wasn’t directly impacted by Monday’s threats, but some individual itineraries were affected.

Several Richmond travelers tell WTVR CBS 6 that they didn’t hear about the threats until they were home.

fighterjet2

“I was not even aware or know there was an issue,” Chesterfield resident Tony Baker said after landing on a flight from Atlanta.

Virginia McCarthy, also traveling home from Paris on Monday, says she was relieved she didn’t hear anything until she was safely home in Virginia.

“I just heard when I got back, which was good because I would have been frantic,” McCarthy said. “I was already nervous enough traveling alone.”