Turkish Airlines plane diverted to Canada after bomb threat: Police
OTTAWA - Agence France-Presse
DHA photoA Turkish Airlines plane flying from New York to Istanbul was diverted to Canada on Nov. 22 because of a bomb threat, but police said no explosives were found.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said the plane, with 256 passengers and crew, landed at Halifax Stanfield International Airport early Sunday after being alerted to the bomb threat.
No bomb was found, however, during an exhaustive search of the aircraft and the passengers' luggage, and the plane was given the all-clear early Sunday to continue its journey.
"The Turkish Airlines aircraft is scheduled to continue on to Istanbul later this morning. The investigation into the threat is ongoing," the RCMP said on Twitter.
"RCMP completed search of Turkish Airlines aircraft & luggage at 4:25 a.m., no explosive device found."
The bomb threat comes with aviation officials on high alert for possible acts of terror following the November 13 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead and hundreds injured.
Authorities received the threat late Nov. 21 at 22:50 (0250 GMT) after the plane had departed New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The aircraft landed in Halifax in Nova Scotia shortly before 0100 (0500 GMT).
The RCMP, in a series of statements on Twitter, said police searched the plane and passengers' suitcases "using police dogs trained in explosives".
"RCMP is looking to establish the origin of the threat and identify the person or persons responsible," it said.
Turkey's ambassador to Ottawa, Selçuk Ünal, told the state-run Anadolu Agency that Ankara was "following the developments."
"A joint crisis center has been set up. After the plane landed at the airport it was taken to a remote and safe part of the airport," Ünal said. "Our passengers were evacuated safely."
The latest threat follows incidents Nov. 17, when two Air France planes flying from the US to Paris were diverted because of similar bomb scares.
Those planes were forced to land in Halifax and in Salt Lake City, Utah, but officials said no explosives were found on either flight.
Law enforcement officials in the United States and Canada are investigating both incidents, authorities said.