Cathay airliner escorted to Vancouver after bomb scare

Cathay airliner escorted to Vancouver after bomb scare

A Cathay Pacific passenger plane sits on the tarmac at the Vancouver International Airport on Saturday, APThe 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 said.

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.

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