TORONTO (AP) — A Korean Airlines Boeing 777 en route from Vancouver to Seoul diverted to a Canadian Forces base on Vancouver Island after the airline's U.S. call center received a call about a threat onboard.
Korean Air said in a release that 25 minutes after take-off from Vancouver International Airport its U.S. call center received the threat. The airline said after discussion with the related departments they decided to turn the aircraft around.
In Washington, a U.S. official said that two U.S. F-15s were scrambled. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The two F-15s were from the 142nd Fighter Wing Air National Guard in Portland. They took off from Portland Airbase around 5:30 p.m. after being notified of a credible bomb threat by Canadian authorities.
The jets have returned to Portland.
“This is why the 142nd Fighter Wing is perfectly positioned in Portland,” said Major Melinda Lepore of the 142nd Fighter Wing. “We protect the skies of the Pacific Northwest every day.”
The Canadian Forces said in a news release that the flight was traveling from Vancouver International Airport and was diverted to Comex air base 70 miles outside Vancouver at about 5:30 p.m.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported the plane was diverted after a bomb threat was made in a telephone call to the airline's Los Angeles office. According to the CBC report, the flight was escorted by U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jets that had been scrambled from Portland, Oregon.
A Korean Air spokesman said he was aware of the incident but declined to comment on the reported bomb threat.
Vancouver International Airport spokeswoman Alisa Gloag said flight 72 with 149 passengers landed safely at Comox about three hours after it took off. Gloag could not confirm any other details.
The military said emergency personnel are securing the aircraft in accordance with normal procedures.
The military base is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island.
Associated Press writers Foster Klug in Seoul and Jay Arnold in Washington contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.