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Suspicious cargo grounds plane in India

/ Source: The Associated Press

A Delta flight that landed at Mumbai on Thursday night was searched for suspicious cargo after a warning from airline staff in Amsterdam but security agencies later cleared the aircraft.

The plane from Amsterdam landed at Mumbai's international airport at around 11 p.m. flanked by fire trucks and other emergency vehicles and was immediately taken to an isolated bay, where it was inspected by bomb squads and airport security, said airport spokesman Manish Kalghatgi.

The aircraft was shifted to a parking bay after emergency alerts were withdrawn at 1:50 a.m. Friday.

"Security agencies have cleared the onboard cargo," Kalghatgi said. "They haven't found anything objectionable."

"Delta staff in Amsterdam informed the pilot there may be unaccounted-for cargo on board," Kalghatgi said.

All 244 passengers on board Delta flight 70 were evacuated safely, he said.

Flights at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport were operating normally, he said.

Delta Air Lines Inc. posted a statement on Twitter that read: "We requested rescreening of some cargo on flt 70 in Mumbai. Paxs deplaned safely & we are working with authorities."

In Amsterdam, spokespeople for Schiphol airport and KLM, which has a code-sharing agreement with Delta, declined comment.

Passengers were asked to remain at the airport until all luggage and cargo searches were completed, said Rohit Sharma, who was outside the airport waiting for his aunt who was on the flight.

The incident came two days before President Barack Obama is scheduled to land in Mumbai, his first stop on a 10-day Asia trip.

Last week, two package bombs sent via air freight from Yemen to the United States were found in Britain and the United Arab Emirates. One was diffused just 17 minutes before it was set to detonate, according to the French interior minister.

Associated Press writers Aijaz Ansari in Mumbai, Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands, and Josh Freed in Minneapolis contributed to this report. Additional reporting by Aijaz Ansari in Mumbai.