A Korean Airlines Boeing 777 en route from Vancouver to Seoul on Tuesday was diverted to a Canadian Forces base on Vancouver Island after the airline’s U.S. call centre received a bomb threat.
Korean Air said in a release that 25 minutes after take-off from Vancouver International Airport the call centre received the threat. The airline said after discussion with the related departments they decided to turn the aircraft around.
A Canadian spokeswoman for The North American Aerospace Defence Command said two U.S. fighter jets escorted the plane to Canada’s Comox air base, which is 112 km outside Vancouver.
“It was two F—15s from Portland, Oregon that conducted the intercept,” said Maj. Holly Apostoliuk.
Korean Air spokeswoman Penny Pfaelzer said from Los Angeles that the caller warned that an explosive was on board the aircraft. Pfaelzer said she had no additional details.
An airline spokeswoman in Korea said all the passengers and crew are safe and that the airline is conducting a safety inspection now and will evaluate a new departure time after discussion.
The flight was traveling from Vancouver International Airport and was diverted to Comex at about 5-30 p.m.
Vancouver International Airport spokeswoman Alisa Gloag said flight 72 with 149 passengers landed safely at Comox about three hours after it took off.
The military said emergency personnel were securing the aircraft in accordance with normal procedures.
The military base is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island.