Bomb threat that diverted WestJet flight deemed 'non-credible'
A flight from Vancouver to Ottawa was forced to make an unscheduled landing when police got word of a possible explosive on the plane.
WestJet flight 142 left Vancouver Wednesday afternoon, and was scheduled to arrive in Ottawa at midnight local time, or 9 p.m. PT. But instead, the plane was diverted to Thunder Bay, a city approximately 1,400 kilometres northwest of the capital.
Police ordered the diversion over a "possible bomb" threat received before it landed, Thunder Bay Police Executive Officer Chris Adams said.
Adams told reporters that he could not say where the threat originated or provide more information as it is part of an ongoing investigation. He said the tip came from police sources, and is being followed up on.
In a statement, WestJet said that the authorities determined that the threat was "non-credible" and not specific.
"As always, safety is our main priority and we would like to thank our guests for their patience and understanding," the statement said.
All 125 passengers and crew were escorted off the plane and put in a hotel overnight as RCMP inspected the plane and conducted other security checks. The plane continued its journey Thursday morning.
New Westminster resident Robert Billard's 14-year-old son Gabriel was one of the passengers on the plane.
Gabriel texted his father to let him know what happened, and that he was OK. Gabriel wrote that he had been instructed to leave his phone and the rest of his stuff on the plane, "so don't freak out if you don't hear from me for a bit."
Through tears, Robert said he'd been scared when he heard about the threat.
"As a parent, you like to think that you're in control of your kids," he said.
"I know he's a teenager and I know that we all have to let go, but this isn't the way that I want to let go. I want my kid to be safe."
With files from CTV Vancouver's Jonathan Glasgow