PRECEDE Lima, Peru.
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A planeload of tired and frustrated passengers on a Pan Am 747 that was forced to land in Peru after the pilot apparently veered into Peruvian airspace arrived in Los Angeles late Monday, ending a 23-hour odyssey.
None of the 90 passengers on the Boeing 747 was hurt in the ordeal that began as a routine 11-hour flight from Santiago, Chile, to Los Angeles. Flight 210 originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
″We are very unhappy because we are tired,″ said passenger Aurora Nena, 50, of Glendale, Calif.
Officials in Lima said a Peruvian warplane forced a Pan Am jumbo jet to land at the Lima airport Monday after the American plane violated Peru’s air space.
But Pan Am spokesman Jeff Kreindler and the passengers disputed accounts of the Peruvian warplane, with Kreindler saying he had no report that the jumbo jet had been forced to land by a military plane.
Maria and Alberto Battista, both 45, of Buenos Aires, said there were no indications of military activity visible from inside the plane. Mrs. Battista said passengers remained calm, adding, ″Everybody was perfect and quiet.″
Bruce Downs, a Santiago resident, characterized the incident as as case of ″a little dog biting a big dog.″
″There was no problem,″ said Ron Do of Los Angeles, who was returning from a South American vacation. ″The nicest thing that happened is that I had a chance to buy a rug there (in Lima’s airport).″
No figures were immediately available for how many Americans were on the plane.
The pilot announced to the passengers that air traffic controllers in Lima ordered him to land there.
Passengers remained aboard the plane seven hours, then were allowed to disembark for about an hour at the airport’s waiting area.
The 11-hour scheduled flight ended up taking 23 hours because of the delay.
Airport police in Lima told reporters the plane landed there at 7 a.m. (8 a.m. EDT) and departed for Los Angeles at 3 p.m. (4 p.m. EDT) after a fine of $5,000 was paid.
The plane landed at 8:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. EDT) in Los Angeles, said Marty Schlocker, a spokesman for Los Angeles International Airport operations.
Kreindler said the incident occurred after ″an error was made in filing the flight plan between Santiago and Acapulco (Mexico) to have the aircraft overfly Peruvian air space.″
The crew correctly followed the erroneous flight plan, he said.
There has been a dispute between Peru and the United States over air rights since May 1984, he said.
Felix Ortello, an Argentine journalist on the flight, told reporters in Lima that on a normal Santiago-to-Los Angeles flight the plane would have flown out over the Pacific Ocean after leaving Chile and would not have been near Peruvian air space.
Flight 210 is usually nonstop, but it had been scheduled to stop Monday in Acapulco, Mexico, because of a limitation on its takeoff weight, Kreindler said. However, it did not stop in Acapulco because of the incident in Lima, and flew directly to Los Angeles, he added.