Man Held In Sweden After Pakistan Plane Threat

September 25, 2010

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A bomb threat forced a Pakistan Airlines Boeing 777 with 273 people on board to divert to Sweden on Saturday, and a Canadian man in his 30s was arrested after the plane landed and was evacuated.

Police said they were questioning the man on suspicion of preparing plane sabotage, but found no explosives on him. The plane, en route from Canada to Pakistan, was being searched.

"No dangerous substances have been found so far," said police spokesman Kjell Lindgren.

The incident began when a woman called Canadian police from a pay phone after the plane had taken off, saying a man on board had explosives with him, police spokesman Janne Hedlund said.

Stefan Radman, head of a special police squad at the scene, said the man was being held at a police station in Sollentuna, between Stockholm and Arlanda, the Swedish capital's main airport. Police were also questioning the passengers and crew.

The plane was diverted to Arlanda after Canadian police told the pilot of the threat while the plane was in Swedish airspace.

A spokesman for Arlanda airport said the plane had departed from Toronto. Toronto airport's website showed the destination of that flight -- PK782 -- was Karachi.

Passengers slowly left the plane and got on to waiting buses, Radman said, and the arrest took place calmly. Armed policemen had earlier taken up position near the plane.

"The pilot only informed us that he's landing there due to security reasons. All passengers and crew members are well," said Arlanda airport spokesman Jan Lindqvist.

After landing, the plane stood with its engines idling at the end of a runway, about 2 km (1 mile) from the airport terminal building.

Hedlund said that the man had passed through all the usual security checks before getting on the plane.

(Reuters)