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Kelowna  

Airport incident

Bill Everitt

 

UPDATE 9 P.M.

Kelowna RCMP have arrested one person of interest in connection with the threat against an aircraft Saturday afternoon.

Nothing suspicious or threatening was found by RCMP during the search of either aircraft, passengers or baggage.

Kelowna RCMP continue to investigate the incident. No charges have been laid.

UPDATE 4 P.M.

Passengers aboard a WestJet flight that landed in Kelowna over the noon hour were relatively calm despite what is believed to have been a bomb threat.

The flight landed at Kelowna International Airport shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday with police, fire crews and BC Ambulance attendants standing by. The plane taxied to an area at the end of the runway, away from the terminal.

Castanet has learned two WestJet flights were checked by bomb sniffing dogs.

Sabrina Thievin, a passenger on the plane travelling from St. Albert, AB, spoke with Castanet News Director Trevor Rockliffe following what turned out to be a three hour ordeal.

"We landed about 12:35 or 12:40 and we sat on the plane for a couple of hours. Then we got taken onto buses...took all the luggage off...they brought the dogs on and they were sniffing the luggage.

Before they did that they moved the buses because we were pretty close to the luggage.

They brought us water, some cookies.

Everyone was really good. People weren't freaking out, it was great.

We just let the police and fireman do their jobs.

It was a long wait and not knowing was hard. Then they got a third bus in and brought us here.

It's a long day."

Thievin was asked the mood of the passengers while everyone waited, not knowing exactly what was going on.

Surprisingly we were commenting there was nobody freaking out..there was no one getting really pissed off.

The longer we were on the bus the harder it got. There were three small children and one of the girls was crying. It got hard for them.

A lady with a baby and some older people. People were getting a little impatient but the WestJet staff was great.

The police came on board and told us what was going on and we really got the feeling they were trying to keep us up to date with what was going on."

Thievin says many on board believed there was a bomb threat.

"That's what we heard. Some people said it was a bomb scare, some people said no but no one actually said for sure what it was.

Evidently the reason it took so long for us to get off the plane was because they had to find drivers for the buses and get the buses out. Then it took longer because the dogs were sniffing the on-going passengers luggage before they did ours since the threat was against that flight and not ours."

Thievin's travelling companion, Joyce Cameron, also from St. Albert, says people were relatively calm throughout.

"It was a long duration but overall everybody kept their sense of humour. Nobody was trying to scare anybody and we all just kept calm and thankful that hopefully it's over."

Cameron added events from earlier this week in Montreal and Ottawa went through her mind while they waited for the ordeal to conclude.

 


UPDATE 3:20 P.M.

Passengers from the WestJet flight are now in the terminal at Kelowna International Airport after a dog checked their luggage.

Fire and ambulance personnel have left the scene.

One female passenger was taken away by ambulance.


UPDATE 2:45 P.M.

A WestJet flight has landed safely at Kelowna International Airport after what Castanet has been told was a threat to the plane.

The plane parked at the far end of the runway away from the terminal where passengers were waiting to be loaded into waiting buses for transport to the terminal.

Luggage is being removed from the plane and collected onto the tarmac.

Devon, a passenger on the WestJet flight told Castanet News a bomb sniffing dog is going through everything.

She says it will be at least a half hour before they are able to move.

Several arrivals have been delayed.

Planes are now taking off, however, nothing has been landing.

More details as they become available.


Emergency crews are on standby at YLW, they are apparently waiting for a WestJet flight to land.

The press release from the airport states:

Kelowna Airport's Aircraft Rescue Firefighters, Kelowna Fire Department, BC Ambulance and RCMP are currently on scene for an unsubstantiated and unconfirmed emergency. 

More details to follow, we have a reporter at the airport.

COMMENTS WELCOME

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