Image: Jet fighter escorts passenger plane
Patrick Beaton  /  AP
A Canadian fighter jet escorts a Cathay Pacific passenger plane headed for Vancouver, Canada, on Saturday.
msnbc.com news services
updated 5/15/2010 11:36:13 PM ET 2010-05-16T03:36:13

Canadian fighter jets escorted a Cathay Pacific airliner incoming from Hong Kong to a safe landing in Vancouver International Airport on Saturday after a bomb threat, officials said.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that passengers had been safely taken off the plane and that nothing of concern had been found in the baggage.

"They told us there was some sort of terrorist problem and the baggage would be held up," an unidentified male passenger told Canada's CTV News after disembarking the flight.

One passenger told CTV News the fighters appeared about 80 miles from Vancouver.

"I was scared," he said. "He was near to our plane, very near to our plane."

Cathay Pacific Airways said in a statement that the issue was raised on the ground, not aboard the aircraft. It said the aircraft, an Airbus A340, carried 283 passengers and a crew of 14.

Canadian F-18 Hornet fighter jets intercepted the plane and flew alongside it until it landed around 1:40 p.m. local time (4:40 p.m. Eastern time, 2040 GMT), drawing attention from people throughout Vancouver who heard the roar of the low-flying planes.

"As a precaution, NORAD fighters escorted the aircraft until it landed safely in Vancouver," said North American Aerospace Defense Command's Maj. Holly Apostoliuk.

This article contains reporting from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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