Three Indians on-board PIA flight diverted to Stockholm

Last Updated: Sunday, September 26, 2010 - 18:54

Stockholm: Canadian police is
investigating whether a phoned-in hoax caused diversion of a
Pakistani jet with 273 people on-board, including three
Indians, to Stockholm for several hours Saturday for fear that
one of its passengers was carrying explosives.

Pakistan International Airlines said there were 255
passengers and 18 crew members on the plane. Of the
passengers, 102 were Canadian nationals, 139 Pakistanis, eight
US citizens, three Indians and one each from Japan, Malaysia
and Bangladesh.

Police evacuated 273 people from the jet, and briefly
detained a Canadian man, after an anonymous caller in Canada
tipped-off authorities that the suspect was carrying
explosives.

However, no explosives were found on the man, who was
released after questioning by police, or on the Boeing 777
from Pakistan International Airlines, which had been bound
from Toronto to Karachi, Pakistan.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it was
investigating whether the incident was a "terrorism hoax."

"If the information is deemed to be a hoax, the person
who passed along that information can be charged for public
mischief," said spokeswoman Sgt. Julie Gaining in Ottawa.

All passengers except the suspect were allowed back on
the plane at Stockholm`s Atlanta airport nine hours later.

It took off for Manchester, England, from where the
passengers would continue their journey to Karachi, said Jan
Lindqvist, a spokesman for airport operator Swedavia.

Swedish police described the suspect as a Canadian
citizen born in 1982. Initially they said he was of Pakistani
background but later said they were not sure.

A spokesman for the state-owned Pakistan International
Airlines said the suspect was a 25-year-old Canadian national.

A prosecutor decided to release the man after
questioning, and police were trying to help him continue his
journey to Karachi either late Saturday or Sunday, police
spokesman Erik Widstrand said, adding the man had cooperated
with investigators.

"He was calm but irritated," Widstrand said.

The pilot asked to land the plane in Stockholm after
Canadian authorities said they received a tip-off by phone the
man was carrying explosives. Passengers were told there was a
technical problem with the aircraft and didn`t find out the
real reason until they were on the ground, Widstrand said.

A SWAT team detained the suspect as he was evacuated
from the aircraft along with the other passengers. An
Associated Press reporter at the airport saw the passengers
boarding yellow airport buses parked near the aircraft.

The tip was "called in by a woman in Canada," police
operation leader Stefan Radman said, adding that Swedish
police took the threat seriously.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, September 26, 2010 - 18:54

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