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US fighters scrambled as 'credible bomb threat' diverts Korean Air jet to Canadian base

NBC News

A Korean Airlines Boeing 777 sits on the tarmac of Comox Airport after being diverted from Vancouver International Airport due to a bomb threat.

Updated at 5:43 a.m. ET: Two U.S. F-15s were scrambled to escort a Korean Air passenger jet to a Canadian military base Tuesday after the carrier's call center received a "credible bomb threat," NBC News reported. The aircraft later made an emergency landing.

Korean Air flight 72, which was en route from Vancouver to South Korean capital Seoul, diverted to the Comox base on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, the airline said.

"The (Korean Air) U.S. call center received a call that there was a threat on board the aircraft," Korean Air said in a statement. The threat was received about 25 minutes after the flight took off, The Associated Press reported.

NBC News reported that Canadian authorities had requested U.S. assistance to escort the flight back to Canada.

Two Oregon National Guard F-15s, which took off from Portland, Ore., intercepted the plane and shadowed it until it landed at the Canadian base, NBC News reported.

The plane, a Boeing 777, had 147 people including 134 passengers on board, the airline said.

"The airline will decide about the continuation of the flight after discussion with the airport and related authorities," Korean Air said.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Inspector Brian Massey told NBC News early Wednesday that cargo and luggage was being screened.

NBC News' Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube, Reuters, The Associated Press and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

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