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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Qantas jet evacuated after bomb threat

A bomb threat against a Qantas flight bound for Australia at Los Angeles International Airport overnight was a hoax, the airline says.

Qantas spokesman Lloyd Quartermaine said QF 12 with more than 350 passengers and crew was grounded but after an inspection it had been cleared to continue its journey to Sydney on Saturday night.

"It has been assessed as a hoax, but as a precaution Qantas worked with US authorities to inspect the aircraft so it can resume operation," Mr Quartermaine said.

The flight was supposed to depart Los Angeles at 10am (0300 AEST). The 347 passengers and 20 crew members were boarding at the time of the threat and had to get off, according to an LAX spokeswoman.

Passengers were taken to hotels.

Mr Quartermaine said a new flight had been organised for passengers and would leave Los Angeles at 11pm (1600 AEST) on Saturday.

He said Qantas had been told of the threat by US authorities but refused to comment on the nature of the threat.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said agents searched the plane and the luggage for about six hours but found no explosives.

Detectives are now investigating who made the bomb threat.


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