The RCMP has determined there was no actual threat on board a Cathay Pacific passenger plane that had to be escorted to Vancouver International Airport by two Canadian Forces fighter jets.
Two armed CF-18 Hornets escorted Cathay Pacific Flight 838, bound for Vancouver from Hong Kong, to the airport in Richmond, B.C., after RCMP officials learned of a bomb threat. The plane landed safely at about 1:35 p.m. PT.
"The threat is being taken very seriously and I'd just like to assure the travelling public that there is no threat to them at this time," RCMP Cpl. Sherrdean Turley told reporters.
Passengers immediately disembarked from the plane but were held in customs for more than two hours and had to leave without their baggage. There were 283 passengers and 14 crew on board.
Turley said the RCMP's Richmond detachment received a call shortly before 11 a.m. PT that there was a bomb on the plane.
"All necessary screening procedures were carried out and nothing of concern was identified," she said, adding that no one was injured in the incident.
Turley said she could not discuss whether any group had taken responsibility for the threat and said the investigation into the incident was still underway.
Earlier, Jay Paxton, a spokesperson for Defence Minister Peter MacKay had confirmed there was "a bomb threat aboard an incoming flight from Hong Kong.
"We scrambled two CF-18s, one Buffalo and one Cormorant out of [CFB] Comox. The CF-18s escorted the aircraft to Vancouver and it landed without incident."
They did not land with the aircraft and have since returned to their base.
Officials said the jets responded quickly from their base on Vancouver Island once information of the potential threat was received. The fighter jets are authorized to respond to security threats with measures including lethal force.