Kathmandu, March 27 (IANS) Airport authorities in Nepal on Sunday evacuated passengers from a Delhi-bound Jet Airways flight at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport after receiving a threat about a bomb on the plane, officials said.
“We conducted a search in the plane after evacuating all the passengers,” said Devendra K.C., spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.
Nothing was found inside the Boeing 737 plane after a thorough search, and officials were now searching the luggage of the passengers.
The plane was scheduled to take off at 4.20 p.m. carrying 169 people, including crew members.
All national and international flights were cancelled up to 6 p.m., officials said.
Deputy Inspector General Madhav Joshi, who is also the spokesperson of Nepal Police, confirmed that airport security officials received information about a bomb on the Delhi-bound flight.
“We evacuated the pasengers and are conducting a search. Passengers were told the flight was delayed due to bad weather. The flight was put on hold and a search is going on,” he said.
Defence analyst and retired army officer Major General Ashok Mehta, who was to take the flight, told IANS: “We have not been told anything about the flight delay. We heard rumors about a bomb being planted. Officials are searching the plane.”
Security was beefed up at airport after the threat.
The plane was kept in an isolation bay and searched by a bomb disposal squad of the Nepal Army.
Officials said someone made a phone call at the Jet Airways office in New Delhi and informed airline officials that a bomb has been planted on the Delhi-bound plane.
The information was immediately relayed to Kathmandu, and all inbound and outbound flights at the airport were suspended temporarily following the bomb scare.
Nick Talbot, a passenger and mountain climber, tweeted: “We are only plane to land in fog in Kathmandu and being held in a secure zone without hand luggage, apparently we are a security risk!”
“Airport closed as apparently someone reported a bomb on our plane. Yes now lined up on runway,” he posted later.
(Anil Giri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)