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Knives on Canadian airliner investigated

By Daniel Sieberg

(CNN) -- Officials in Canada are trying to determine when two X-Acto knives were placed aboard an Air Canada plane that was bound for New York on September 11.

It is unclear whether the knives were on the airliner on that date. The knives, described as box cutters, were discovered on September 14 aboard Flight 792, an Air Canada Airbus A320 scheduled to fly that day between Toronto, Ontario, and Calgary, Alberta.

That plane had also been slated to fly to New York on the morning of September 11 before it was grounded following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The information about the knives was not made public until reports in the Canadian media this past weekend.

Air Canada spokesman John Reber said Monday that a passenger who was tall enough to see inside the overhead bins discovered the knives while boarding the September 14 flight. The knives were not inside a bag or container, he said.

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"The knives appear to be promotional items, of the sort used to open a frozen meal," Reber said. Citing the ongoing investigation, he would not provide any further details about the appearance of the knives.

"There is no evidence to prove that the knives were placed on the plane on September 11, or before or after that, because they weren't found until September 14," Reber said. "And there is nothing to suggest that passenger safety was ever compromised."

Once the knives were turned over to the authorities, the Air Canada plane was then impounded at Pearson International Airport. The passengers were rerouted to Calgary on another flight.

Investigators are said to have interviewed most of the passengers from the September 11 flight, but no details have been released.

Thousands of tips

Reber said the X-Acto knives would not have passed the new standards for airplane security implemented by Air Canada following the attacks. However, before the attacks occurred, he said they would have been permitted.

He added that reports of additional box cutters found under some of the seats of the aircraft are false.

Reber said there is currently a joint investigation into the matter by both the regional police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Constable Michele Paradis, a spokeswoman for the RCMP, said Monday that under Canadian law the authorities cannot comment on a case if no charges have been filed. As such, Paradis could not confirm or deny that an investigation had been launched.

Paradis would only say that based on the 4,700 tips the RCMP has received to date, they have not seen anything that would compromise the security of air travelers.


• Air Canada

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