Monday, November 29, 1999

Cathay plane escorted to Vancouver after "bomb hoax"

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A Cathay Pacific airliner from Hong Kong was escorted by military fighter jets to its destination in Vancouver, Canada, after a bomb threat, but no bomb was found, police said on Saturday.Police searched the aircraft and luggage after the flight landed at Vancouver International Airport, but "nothing of concern" was found and there was no danger to passengers, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.Two Canadian CF-18 Hornets were scrambled from a military base on nearby Vancouver Island to escort the Cathay Pacific Airways plane in response to the threat, according to police and local media.Police did not release details on the threat, but local media reported it was made by phone. No arrests have been made and passengers were allowed to leave the aircraft after it landed safely."They told us there was some sort of terrorist problem and the baggage would be held up," an unidentified male passenger told Canada's CTV News after disembarking the flight.When asked if he was aware that the flight had been escorted by military jets into Vancouver, another male passenger said: "No, no idea. That's news to me."On Sunday morning, Cathay Pacific customer service representatives at Hong Kong's airport were unaware that one of the airline's flights had been forced to land in Vancouver.Cathay flights from Hong Kong were continuing uninterrupted and on schedule.(Reporting Allan Dowd; Additional reporting in Hong Kong by Don Durfee; Editing by Sandra Maler and Jerry Norton)

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