Plane escorted to Vancouver after `bomb hoax`

A Cathay plane was escorted by fighter jets to Vancouver after a "bomb hoax".

Toronto: Two Canadian fighter jets
escorted a Cathay Pacific airliner with 300 people on board to
a safe landing at Vancouver International Airport following a
bomb threat, but no explosive was found.

The Vancouver-bound flight, which originated from Hong
Kong, landed safely at 1340 local time and was towed to a
secure part of the airport, police said.

A "bomb threat" on board the plane had been called
into Royal Canadian Mounted Police at 10:43 am (local time), a
police spokeswoman said.

Two Canadian F-18 Hornet fighter jets intercepted the
Airbus 8340 with 283 passengers and 14 crew members aboard and
flew alongside it until it landed around 1:40 pm (local time).

Spokeswoman of the North American Aerospace Defence
Command Holly Apostoliuk said the order came following an
information about a potential threat.

"As a precaution NORAD fighters escorted the aircraft
until it landed safely in Vancouver at about 1:40 pm," she

Police searched the aircraft and luggage after the
flight landed at Vancouver International Airport, but found no
suggestion of explosives, according to the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police.
Though police did not release details of the threat,
Canadian media reported that it was made by phone.

"The threat is being taken very seriously and I`d just
like to assure the travelling public that there is no threat
to them at this time," Police spokesperson Sherrdean Turley
told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Passengers spoke of their fright on seeing fighter
jets appear in the sky outside the plane.

A passenger told CTV that he "got scared" when he saw
fighter jets outside his window. "It was flying very near to
our plane."

Another passenger Jing Vance told the Vancouver Sun
that "everyone was quite surprised and taking pictures".

Passengers were held in customs for more than two
hours and had to leave without their baggage as they were
being checked by the authorities.

The flight triggered the latest in a series of scares
amid jitters following several botched attacks using planes
and other methods of transport on the United States.


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