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Bomb Threat Sparks Plane Evacuation

March 11, 2001

MANCHESTER, England (AP) _ More than 400 passengers were evacuated from a plane destined for New York City on Saturday after officials received a warning that a bomb was on board.

The plane, a Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 747 traveling from the Pakistani cities of Karachi and Lahore, was towed to a remote area of Manchester Airport and surrounded by a 600-yard exclusion zone, Greater Manchester Police said.

The plane was scheduled to continue to New York’s John F. Kennedy airport after the stopover in Manchester.

A police spokeswoman said airline officials received a series of telephone threats Saturday. Callers said a bomb aboard the plane would explode over the Atlantic Ocean.

The aircraft landed in Manchester at 9 a.m. and 462 passengers and 17 crew members were evacuated as eight fire engines stood by.

Police waited until late afternoon to board the plane. Crews were still X-raying luggage and examining the jet 13 hours after it landed, said Inspector Ruth Wain, of the Greater Manchester Police.

She did not know how long the search might take or when the jet would leave England. Passengers waited at hotels near the airport.

Update hourly