Canadian military aircraft escort airliner after bomb threat

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A file image of a Canadian CF-18
Image: U.S. Defense Imagery.

A Cathay Pacific passenger aircraft from Hong Kong was escorted by two Canadian military aircraft after the pilot issued an alert of a bomb threat to the aircraft.

The aircraft landed without incident at Vancouver International Airport at around 1340 local time (2040 UTC). Passengers were initially kept on board the aircraft before being allowed to get off; the plane was moved to a secure section of the airport while police investigated the incident.

Two Canadian CF-18 fighter jets had taken off from a military base on Vancouver Island to intercept the plane after the pilot's alert. A Canadian official said that "As a precaution, NORAD fighters escorted the aircraft until it landed safely in Vancouver."

According to a police official authorities had taken the threat seriously, even though no dangerous substances had been found on board the plane, and passengers had not been in danger. An unidentified passenger from the flight said that "They told us there was some sort of terrorist problem and the baggage would be held up."