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Plane to Moscow diverted after bomb scare

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:53 PM EDT, Thu August 16, 2012
  • NEW: All the luggage has been cleared, the plane is still being inspected
  • Authorities are investigating the bomb threat
  • Flight 103 was safely evacuated
  • Aeroflot says passengers were heading to Moscow later Thursday

(CNN) -- Authorities are investigating a bomb threat made to a Moscow-bound Aeroflot flight that took off from New York Wednesday night and was diverted to Iceland, New York FBI spokesman Peter Donald said.

Authorities informed the airline that the person making the threat said there were "five suitcases on board the plane containing explosives," said Irina Dannenberg, a spokeswoman for the Russian airline.

Flight 103 left the gate at the John F. Kennedy International Airport at 8:05 p.m, but didn't take off until 9:30 p.m., and the threat came about 20 minutes later, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the matter.

The plane landed at Iceland's Keflavik International Airport with 253 people on board, including the crew, and all were safely evacuated.

Donald said the aircraft was being swept for explosives, while a police official in Iceland said all the luggage aboard the plane had been checked and cleared. Emergency officials in Iceland were at the scene and they activated a security plan at the airport.

Aeroflot said around 200 passengers were to be flown to Moscow on Thursday. It is not clear whether the plane is the same one that left New York.

CNN's Susan Candiotti, Bharati Naik, Igor Krotov and Alla Eshchenko contributed to this report.

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