Bomb threat forces EgyptAir jet to land

An EgyptAir Airbus A330 takes off from Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport (file photo)Image copyright

Image caption

An anonymous caller told Egyptian security agents a bomb was on board the flight (file photo)

An EgyptAir plane that was forced to land in Uzbekistan due to a hoax bomb threat has been cleared to resume its journey from Cairo to Beijing.

All 118 passengers and 17 crew on board the Airbus A330-220 were evacuated at Urgench International Airport.

The aircraft was searched by Uzbek security forces but no explosive device was found, Egyptian officials said.

Three weeks ago, an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo carrying 66 people crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.

The cause of the crash remains a mystery, although Egyptian officials have said an act of terrorism is more likely than a technical failure.

French investigators said last week that signals from one of the plane’s black boxes had been detected about 290km (180 miles north) of the Egyptian coast.

‘Anonymous caller’

The chairman of EgyptAir, Safwat Mussallam, told the AFP news agency that Flight MS955 left Cairo at 21:55 GMT (23:55 Cairo time) on Tuesday and was scheduled to land in Beijing at 07:34 GMT (15:34 Beijing time) on Wednesday.

During the flight, an anonymous caller telephoned security agents in Cairo to say a bomb was on board the aircraft and the pilot was told to land at the nearest airport.

The plane eventually touched down at Urgench, about 840km (600 miles) west of the Uzbek capital Tashkent, at 03:00 GMT (08:00 Tashkent time) on Wednesday, Uzbekistan Airways said in a statement.

“The aircraft was evacuated, searched and the result of the search was negative, we were told by the Uzbek authorities, who gave us the authorisation to take off again,” Mr Mussallam said.

“We must take any warning seriously,” he added.

Egyptian officials told the Associated Press news agency that the plane resumed its journey to Beijing about four hours after landing in Urgench.

The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, also said the bomb threat was a hoax.

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