Pakistan plane lands in Sweden after bomb threat

Bob Strong,Patrick Lannin,Reuters
Sunday 23 October 2011 02:43

Swedish police say no explosives were found on a man detained on a Pakistan International Airlines plane that made an emergency landing in Stockholm after a tip-off. The plane's baggage is still being searched.

Police spokesman Kjell Lindgren says the man, described as a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, was detained as he was evacuated from the Boeing 777 jet along with other passengers at Stockholm's Arlanda airport.

The plane was diverted after a passenger called Canadian police after the plane had taken off from Canada, saying a man on board had explosives with him.

Canadian police informed the pilot and, as the plane was in Swedish airspace, it was diverted to Arlanda airport, the main airport for the Swedish capital.

Hedlund said police were trying to establish contact with the man and explosives experts were on hand.

When the plane first landed, the passengers stayed on board, but police later decided to evacuate them.

The passengers walked slowly in line to waiting buses. Armed policemen could be seen taking up position near the plane, although fog made it difficult clearly to see what was happening.

A police spokesman at the airport said evacuation would be done in as calm a way a possible.

The police were taking the threat seriously, but were still investigating whether the man had explosives.

He said they would be able to check whether he had explosives during the evacuation.

Pakistan International Airlines spokesman Syed Sultan Hassan told Reuters that 243 passengers were on board the flight. He did not give numbers of crewmembers.

"The pilot only informed us that he's landing there due to security reasons. All passengers and crew members are well," he said.

"Our central control is in touch with the plane and Stockholm but as far as security checks are concerned they're saying they are not going to tell us until they complete the process."

At the airport, the plane was standing with its engines idling at the end of a runway, about 1 mile from the airport terminal building.

Several police cars were parked near the plane and a larger group of police vehicles plus fire engines were parked further away.

Hedlund said that the man had passed through all the security checks before getting on the plane.

An airport spokesman said the plane was flying from Toronto and he thought the destination was Karachi. Stockholm airport was otherwise operating normally, he said.

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