Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cathay Pacific plane from HK escorted to Vancouver by F-18s

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Canadian fighter jets escorted a Cathay Pacific airliner incoming from Hong Kong to a safe landing in Vancouver International Airport on Saturday due to a potential security threat, a North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesperson said.

The Canadian Press news agency cited Canadian Defense department officials as saying there was a bomb threat aboard Flight CX838, but they could not provide details.
Television images showed the plane on an isolated stretch of tarmac, where it had been towed away from the main airport terminal.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said the passengers were safely taken off the plane and no one was injured.

Canadian F-18 Hornet fighter jets intercepted the plane and flew alongside it until it landed around 1:40 p.m. local time (4:40 p.m. Eastern time, 2040 GMT), drawing attention from people throughout Vancouver who heard the roar of the low-flying planes.

"As a precaution, NORAD fighters escorted the aircraft until it landed safely in Vancouver," said North American Aerospace Defense Command's Maj. Holly Apostoliuk.

Apostoliuk said the jets responded quickly from their base in Comox, British Columbia, once information on a potential threat was received.

They did not land with the airliner, and returned to their base.

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