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Terrorism & Security

Vancouver bomb threat: Al Qaeda terror link or pure hoax?

A Vancouver bomb threat on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong caused Canadian officials to send fighter jets to escort the plane to the airport Saturday.

By Correspondent / May 16, 2010

A CF18 Hornet fighter jet, acting under the North American Aerospace Defense Command, intercepts a Cathay Pacific passenger plane after a Vancouver bomb threat on Saturday.

Patrick Beaton/The Canadian Press/AP

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Following a bomb threat on a Cathay Pacific flight en route to Vancouver from Hong Kong, Canadian officials sent fighter jets to escort the plane to the airport. Once grounded at the Vancouver International Airport police conducted a thorough search of the plane and its luggage, but found no trace of explosives.

The Vancouver bomb threat comes as yet another scare in a series of foiled or failed terror attacks.

Following the attempted Times Square bombing and the failed Christmas day bombing on a Detroit-bound flight, it remains uncertain if this latest attempt will result in increased security measures.

The plane landed safely on Saturday with 283 passengers and 14 crew members in good condition. Once on the ground, the passengers spent 2 hours in customs before leaving without their baggage.

Cathay Pacific has termed the bomb scare a "hoax," but officials are still looking into the matter.

“The threat is being taken very seriously and I'd just like to assure the traveling public that there is no threat to them at this time,” said Cpl. Sherrdean Turley, a spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

From a Vancouver pay phone?

According to a report on CTV, the threat was called in to authorities from a pay phone somewhere in Vancouver.

The caller said a bomb had been planted on an outgoing Hong Kong-Vancouver flight. Authorities are now also closely screening passengers leaving for Hong Kong. So far nobody has been arrested in connection with the threat.

The bomb scare did not affect air travel for those flying in or out of Vancouver.

Even after authorities began responding to the threat the airport remained open and all scheduled arriving and departing flights took place.

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