A Korean Air Boeing 777 was forced to make an emergency landing in western Canada shortly after takeoff Tuesday after an anonymous call that an explosive device had been placed onboard.
The country’s largest flagship carrier said Wednesday that flight KE072 bound for Incheon International Airport departed from Vancouver International Airport at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
About 25 minutes after takeoff, the airline’s call center in Los Angeles received a call that a bomb was on the aircraft.
After discussing the matter with aviation safety officials, the airline decided to divert the plane. Three hours after departure, the plane made an emergency landing at Canada’s Comox Airbase, 112 kilometers from Vancouver.
The aircraft had 134 passengers onboard with 12 crew members. No one was hurt before or during the emergency landing, Korean Air said.
"Our U.S. call center received a bomb threat against flight 072 soon after it took off. We then decided to turn the plane around for a safety check,’’ a Korean Air spokesman said.
"All the passengers and crew are safe and the airline is conducting a safety inspection now and will evaluate a new departure time after further discussion.’’
Two U.S. fighter jets escorted the plane to the Royal Canadian Air Force base located on the east coast of Vancouver Island.
The spokesman said the bomb threat turned out to be a hoax. "Safety inspectors went through the plane, but they did not find any hazardous material.’’
He then said not only passengers, but also the airline is the victim of the prank call. "We will file a complaint with U.S. law enforcement authorities to find out who made the call. When identified, we will lodge a compensation suit to recoup our losses.’’
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