World

Bomb hoax possible on Toronto-Karachi flight

Swedish police say a man detained after a tip that he was carrying explosives on a Pakistan International Airlines jet has been released in Stockholm, where his flight from Toronto to Karachi was diverted Saturday.

RCMP received 2 calls about passenger

Swedish police say a man detained after Canadian authorities were told he was carrying explosives on a Pakistan International Airlines jet has been released in Stockholm, where his flight from Toronto to Karachi was diverted Saturday.

Swedish police gather under the Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 777 from Toronto that landed at Stockholm-Arlanda Airport on Saturday after a tip about a bomb threat. ((Fredrik Persson/Associated Press))

Officials evacuated the Boeing 777 at the Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, searched all luggage and detained the passenger for questioning after the tip regarding Flight PK782.

The RCMP now say they're investigating whether the incident was a "terrorism hoax." 

No explosives were found on the man or on the plane, Swedish police said. All passengers, except the detained man, were allowed back on the aircraft nine hours later. They were flown to Manchester, England, to continue the journey to Pakistan.

Police were trying to help the man continue his journey to Karachi either late Saturday or Sunday, police spokesman Erik Widstrand said, adding the man had co-operated with investigators.

"He was calm but irritated," Widstrand said.

Timeline

  • RCMP receive the first phone-call warning at 3 p.m . ET Friday.
  • The plane takes off at 5:17 p.m. ET Friday.
  • The RCMP receive a second phone call at 6 p.m . ET Friday.
  • The plane lands in Stockholm at 1:29 a.m. ET Saturday.

Police said the man who was detained is a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin. A spokesman for the state-owned Pakistan International Airlines said he is a 25-year-old Canadian national.

The tip was "called in by a woman in Canada," police spokesman Stefan Radman said, adding that Swedish police took the threat seriously.

RCMP Sgt. Marc LaPorte said the anonymous woman caller called twice Friday to say a man on the flight had explosives.

"The first call provided vague information," LaPorte said. "It did lay out that there was an individual on that specific flight in possession of explosives and then the second call provided more details with regards to the identity of the person."

He declined to elaborate on the caller, saying a criminal offence might be involved.

PIA said 255 passengers and 18 crew members were on the plane. The passengers included 102 Canadians, 139 Pakistanis, eight U.S. citizens, three Indians and one each from Japan, Malaysia and Bangladesh.

With files from The Associated Press