PIA plane evacuated in Sweden after bomb threat

Swedish police evacuated a Pakistan International Airlines jet diverted to Stockholm due to a bomb alert Saturday and detained a passenger on suspicion of preparing aircraft sabotage, officials said.

The Boeing 777 was traveling from Toronto to Karachi when the pilot asked to land at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport after Canadian authorities received a tip that a passenger was carrying explosives. Arlanda spokesman Anders Bredfell said there were 273 people on board.

A SWAT team detained the suspect as he was evacuated from the aircraft along with the other passengers. Police described him as a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, aged about 30, but said they had not confirmed his identity.

Police operation leader Stefan Radman said no explosives were found on the man, who was being questioned by investigators. He said a bomb squad was searching the aircraft, which was parked on a ramp at the end of a runway.

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

Police officials said the man was not on any international no-fly lists and had cleared a security check in Canada. He didn’t resist when the SWAT team took him into custody.

Investigators were questioning the man at a police station, and a prosecutor was to decide whether to formally arrest him.

Jan Lindqvist, a spokesman for airport operator Swedavia, said PIA was considering flying the passengers to Manchester, England, from where they would continue their journey to Karachi.

In Pakistan, a spokesman for state-run Pakistan International Airlines confirmed the incident involved flight PK782 to Karachi.

“The plane has landed at the Stockholm airport due to security reasons,” airline spokesman Sultan Hassan said.

Calls to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada’s public safety department were not immediately returned.