Bomb threat forces fighter jets to escort plane to Vancouver

VANCOUVER—At least 200 passengers on board a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong remained on board at the tarmac at Vancouver International Airport Saturday afternoon after two fighter jets escorted the plane into Canadian airspace following a bomb threat.

The RCMP were on scene as well as two CF-18s, one Buffalo and one Cormorant out of Comox after the 747 landed safely in Vancouver mid-afternoon.

Jay Paxton, a spokesman for Defence Minister Peter Mackay, said a bomb threat aboard an incoming flight from Hong Kong led to scrambling the two CF-18s to escort the passenger plane into the airport.

Corporal Sherrdean Turley with Richmond RCMP said the plane landed safely and passengers were being kept on board as officials investigate.

Lieutenant-Commander Gary Ross with NORAD in Colorado Springs, Colorado said in an interview that the two fighter jets have returned to their home base in Comox on Vancouver Island. The jets escorted the plane and shadowed it until it landed on the tarmac.

The two CF-18 Hornets intercepted the Cathay Pacific 838 this afternoon after intercepting a potential threat, said Ross.

Ross said for security reasons NORAD is not releasing exactly when and where the fighter jets began shadowing the Cathay plane.

“We don’t like to disclose all of the timing of the events so people can’t put one and one together,” he said.

But he did confirm the jets were launched and were in the air within an hour or so before the scheduled 1:30 p.m. landing of the plane. The plane landed on schedule at Vancouver airport.

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