News / Asia

Pakistan Airliner Diverted to Sweden Due to Bomb Threat

Two anti-terrorist policemen (C) secure one of the passengers as a Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 777 is evacuated at Stockholm Arlanda International airport, 25 Sep 2010
Two anti-terrorist policemen (C) secure one of the passengers as a Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 777 is evacuated at Stockholm Arlanda International airport, 25 Sep 2010
Kevin Billinghurst

Swedish police evacuated a plane carrying 273 people and detained one passenger Saturday, after a flight from Canada to Pakistan was diverted to Stockholm because of a bomb threat.

The Pakistan International Airlines flight, going from Toronto to Karachi, landed at Stockholm's Arlanda airport at 7.30 a.m. local time, after the pilot was notified by Canadian authorities that there could be explosives on-board. Two hours later, the Boeing 777 airliner was evacuated and a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin was detained for questioning.

Canadian police say they received the tip from a woman calling from a pay phone in Toronto, but added that other information, which they declined to divulge, indicated that the warning could be more than a false alarm.

Initial reports indicate that a police bomb-squad, including explosives-sniffing dogs, found nothing suspicious on the plane, and Pakistan airlines spokesman Sultan Hassan in Pakistan said the company expected the flight to continue to its destination.

"Our flight PK-782 is a direct flight from Toronto to Karachi, and our central control got a message from the cockpit that they were landing at Stockholm because of security reasons, and after landing the plane has been checked by the security staff of Stockholm. There are passengers on the plane as our concern was the safety of the passengers and the aircraft and the crew. So we have the positive information that the aircraft, passengers and the crew are all safe."

The plane was searched while parked on a ramp at the end of a runway at the Stockholm airport. Police officials said the detained man was not on any international no-fly lists and that he had cleared a security check in Canada.

Kjell Lindgren, a spokesman for Swedish police, said the evacuation of the plane was uneventful.

Lindgren said Swedish police take threats of this type very seriously, and in this case the evacuation was calm and orderly.  He said passengers left the plane one by one down a staircase and the person who was detained was identified.

Lindgren said other traffic at the airport was not affected.

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