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Plane to U.K. diverted in bomb alert

A Virgin Atlantic Airways airliner was diverted to an airport near London on Thursday after a bomb threat.
/ Source: Reuters

A Virgin Atlantic Airways airliner was diverted to an airport northeast of London on Thursday after a telephoned bomb threat, the latest in a string of similar scares in Europe.

Virgin said the flight from Hong Kong carrying 233 people landed safely at Stansted Airport after being diverted from its destination at London’s main airport Heathrow.

“The aircraft and passengers are now subject to a full security check,” Virgin said in a statement.

A Stansted spokesman said the flight was diverted due to a bomb threat and landed safely at 5:27 a.m. (12:27 a.m. ET).

Stansted is London’s designated airport to handle planes involved in security alerts.

Police said the decision to divert had been taken by the plane’s captain.

No bomb has been found but the plane, which was taken to an isolated part of the airport, was still being searched, Chief Superintendent Ruth Harrison told reporters.

“Any threat whether it could be judged as a crank, a hoax, or whatever is taken seriously,” she said.

Passengers from flight VS201 are being interviewed by police in the terminal building before being transferred to Heathrow.

The alert was the seventh mid-air bomb scare over Europe in the past two weeks. The others all turned out to be hoaxes.