Wed, Aug 23, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Bomb scare forces return of flight

AFP , SYDNEY

A bomb scare on board a passenger airliner from China to Australia forced the pilot to abort the flight, shaken passengers said yesterday.

A note warning that a bomb would explode on the China Southern Airlines flight from Guangzhou to Sydney was found less than an hour into the journey, the passengers told reporters.

The pilot returned to Guangzhou, where some 200 passengers were delayed for hours as the plane was searched, they said when they finally arrived in Sydney seven hours late.

Airline spokesman Bill Bryant said a threatening note was found in a lavatory on the Airbus A330.

"They had no option but to return and make sure the aircraft was scoured from top to bottom," Bryant told reporters.

Australian passenger Jason Harper described the fear aboard the plane as it became apparent that something had gone wrong: "They dumped all the fuel. Then all the lights went out. But no one knew what was happening."

"Then we landed and there were about 20 police cars and fire engines and stuff everywhere," he said.

"You've actually been moved to the back of the plane, all the power cut out, then they started dumping fuel -- it was all pretty dramatic for everyone on board," another passenger told national radio.

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