LONDON – A police search concluded there was no threat to a New York-bound Greek airliner forced to make an emergency landing in Britain following a bomb threat that mentioned Iraq, officers said Monday.
The Olympic Airlines (search) plane, which British military jets escorted to Stansted Airport (search) north of London on Sunday, will continue its journey from Athens to New York. Officers searched the Airbus A340 (search) airliner and the luggage of some 300 passengers for six hours.
"The plane has now been thoroughly searched and police are satisfied there is no threat to safety," said a spokeswoman for Essex Police. "The aircraft will be refueled and prepared for its onward flight."
Police said "well rehearsed procedures" were followed after an anonymous call to a Greek newspaper said there was a bomb on board Olympic Airlines flight 411 from Athens to New York's JFK Airport. Greek authorities immediately notified the pilot of the call, and he asked for a military escort.
Passengers and crew were evacuated within 20 minutes of the flight landing in Stansted. They spent the night at an airport hotel.
According to a tape of the telephone threat, the caller said: "Flight 411 Olympic for America has a bomb for Iraq."
"Are you listening? Flight 411 Olympic for America, bomb. America will see. Six o'clock message for you," the caller to the Ethnos daily said.