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Bomb threat causes emergency landing in British Columbia

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:19 AM EDT, Wed April 11, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bomb threat shortly after takeoff from Vancouver leads to emergency landing, officials say
  • The Boeing 777 lands at 19 Wing Comox on Vancouver Island
  • Two F-15s were scrambled from Portland, Oregon

(CNN) -- NORAD jet fighters intercepted a Korean Air passenger jet carrying 147 people and escorted it to a safe emergency landing at a military base in British Columbia after the airline received a bomb threat, officials said Tuesday.

Two F-15 fighter jets escorted the Boeing 777 to 19 Wing Comox on Vancouver Island because of a threat associated with the aircraft, a NORAD spokeswoman said.

The incident occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m ET), said Maj. Holly Apostoliuk of NORAD in Canada.

The F-15s that conducted the intercept were scrambled from Portland, Oregon, she said.

Penny Pfaelzer, a spokeswoman for Korean Air, said the airline received a bomb threat at its Los Angeles call center concerning Flight KE072, which was carrying 134 passengers, a Canadian pilot and 12 crew members. It was bound for Seoul, South Korea.

The incident occurred 25 minutes after the flight took off from Vancouver International Airport, when the U.S. call center received a threat that an explosive was on board the aircraft, she said. "After discussion with the related departments, we decided to turn the aircraft," she said.

The plane landed at Comox, which is 70 miles northwest of Vancouver.

The airline will decide about continuing the flight after discussion with the airport and the related authorities, she said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were also investigating the incident Tuesday night, said Investigator Brian Massie.

Officers were checking passengers and luggage, Massie said.

CNN's Adam Levine and Maggie Schneider contributed to this story

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