Two Planes Forced to Land Amid 'Hoax' Bomb Threats as 9/11 Anniversary Nears

By Ivana Kvesic, Christian Post Reporter
September 7, 2011|7:44 pm

The state-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was forced to undergo emergency landings on two of their flights today after the airline received bomb threats.

According to PIA officials, the terror threats were received via anonymous emails. An official told AFP, “We received emails about the presence of bombs on two PIA flights.”

The official added, “Since the flights have taken off already, the pilots were directed to land at the nearest airport.”

The Associated Press reported that the first flight found out about the threat when it was flying over Sofia, Bulgaria. Once the notification was received, the plane made an emergency landing in Istanbul at the International Ataturk Airport.

The PK 709 plane was headed to Manchester in the United Kingdom. All passengers were evacuated from the plane and were safe.

The second plane, PK 898, landed in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

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However, a PIA spokesman told journalists that the bomb threats were a hoax. Both planes had been thoroughly searched by security officials with sniffer dogs upon landing and no indication of any bombs or anything suspicious were found in either aircraft.

This is not the first time the Pakistani airline has dealt with bomb threats. Just last year, a PIA plane was forced to land after a woman in Canada called police to report that a man on the plane had explosives on him. That bomb threat also turned out to be a hoax.

Today's bomb threats come only a week after the FBI and Homeland Security department issued warnings for small airlines. The warnings came only a week before the United States was going to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

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