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False security alert forces evacuation of British Airways flight in Paris

Profits at British Airways owner IAG slid to 27 million euros for the first quarter, a 74 percent slump
JUSTIN TALLIS (AFP/File)

Passengers on a London-bound British Airways plane due to take off from Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport on Sunday were evacuated “for a security reason” which ultimately proved to be a false alarm.

A spokesman for Aeroports de Paris said an incident "linked to security" had led staff to evacuate the 130 passengers onboard Heathrow-bound flight BA303.

"There was an incident that led authorities to decide to keep the plane on the ground and to disembark the passengers a few minutes before take-off, to carry out additional checks," the spokesman said.

A spokesman for France's national gendarme service said that police and firefighters were called to respond to a "security alert" involving the aircraft. Authorities determined it to be a false alarm after a thorough examination of the plane and passengers.

James Anderson, a 20-year-old passenger on the plane, told The Associated Press that the pilot first said they were experiencing technical issues, later telling passengers that the aircraft had to be moved to a different part of the airport.

"The pilot then said there had been a direct security threat involving our flight," Anderson told AP, adding that the plane was completely surrounded by armed officers and firefighters.

British Airways said in a statement that "additional security checks" were carried out and that "the safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority."

Britain has raised its terror threat level to "critical" following the bombing of a London Underground train on Friday that left 30 people injured. 

(Staff with agencies)

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