Suspect freed in plane bomb alert probe

Swedish police evacuated 273 people from a Pakistan International Airlines jet diverted to Stockholm due to a bomb alert today and briefly detained a passenger on suspicion of preparing aircraft sabotage.

Swedish police evacuated 273 people from a Pakistan International Airlines jet diverted to Stockholm due to a bomb alert today and briefly detained a passenger on suspicion of preparing aircraft sabotage.

However, no explosives were found on the man, who was released after questioning by police, or on the Boeing 777.

All passengers – except the suspect – were allowed back on the plane nine hours later.

It took off for Manchester, England, from where the passengers would continue their journey to Karachi, Pakistan, said Jan Lindqvist, a spokesman for airport operator Swedavia.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it was investigating whether the incident was a “terrorism hoax”.

The plane was travelling from Toronto to Karachi when the pilot asked to land after Canadian authorities received a tip that a passenger was carrying explosives.

A SWAT team detained the suspect as he was evacuated from the aircraft along with the other passengers. An Associated Press reporter at the airport saw the passengers boarding yellow airport buses parked near the aircraft.

Police described the suspect as a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, aged about 30, but said they had not confirmed his identity.

A spokesman for the state-owned Pakistan International Airlines said the suspect was a 25-year-old Canadian national.

Stockholm police spokesman Kjell Lindgren said a prosecutor decided to release the man after questioning.

Lindgren declined to give details and said investigators would release more information about the incident later.

The tip was “called in by a woman in Canada”, police operation leader Stefan Radman said, adding that Swedish police took the threat seriously.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman Sgt Marc LaPorte said an anonymous caller called twice yesterday saying a man on the flight had explosives.

“The first call provided vague information. It did lay out that there was an individual on that specific flight in possession of explosives and then the second call provided more details with regards to the identity of the person,” LaPorte said.

He declined to elaborate on the caller, saying there was potentially a criminal offence involved.

“We take any call of this nature very seriously. Basically we have to ascertain the credibility and reliability of the call and try to determine whether there was a deliberate intent on behalf of the caller to mislead the police or if it falls into the definition of a terrorism hoax.”

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