Not any more

Canadian released following plane bomb scare

In Canada on September 26, 2010 at 08:28

A Canadian traveller was questioned then released from custody Saturday after a bomb scare prompted the Toronto-to-Pakistan flight he had been on to make an emergency landing in Sweden.

Authorities say police in Canada received a phone call warning them that the passenger might be carrying explosives.

By the time the message was relayed, the Boeing 777 — with 255 passengers, including 102 Canadians, and 18 crew members — had already left Toronto.

The pilot received the warning in the air, and proceeded to ask Swedish police late Friday if he could set down in Stockholm.

The plane was immediately diverted to Arlanda airport, the main airport for the Swedish capital, said Stockholm district police spokesman Janne Hedlund.

“A woman called police from a pay phone in Canada and told Canadian police about the man. She said the man may have had explosives, but he passed security checks,” Mr. Hedlund said.

After the plane landed, police arrested the Canadian, who is of Pakistani origin and roughly 30 years of age.

The plane was on the tarmac for more than nine hours while authorities investigated the threat. The police spokesman said no explosives were found.

The plane was cleared to resume its journey, prior to the man’s release and left without him.

Ulf Lindgren of the Stockholm district police said the man would soon leave Sweden.

“The prosecutor . . . couldn’t find any need to keep him locked up,” Mr. Lindgren told Postmedia News. “He’s now free to go and free to leave the country.

“Swedish police is going to take care of the practical things, so he can continue his journey to Pakistan as soon as possible.”

Airline spokesman Sultan Hasan said the plane was released around 11 a.m. ET and that all passengers — with the exception of the detained Canadian — re-boarded and headed for Manchester, England. He said that after a stop there to change crew, the flight would continue on to Karachi in Pakistan.

“We were very concerned and it’s good news they were all safe,” Mr. Hasan said. “The plane would not have taken off unless it was cleared by the security team.”

RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Julie Gagnon said the telephone tip was from an “unknown reliability” and said the pilot became aware of the potential threat once the plane had left Canadian airspace.

Sgt. Gagnon said public mischief charges are possible if the call was a hoax.

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