SWAT team storms passenger plane

03:09, Jul 28 2014
Ali Shahi
IN TROUBLE: Ali Shahi was charged with allegedly uttering threats and endangering the safety of an aircraft.

Two US F16 fighter jets were scrambled to escort a Panama City-bound flight from Canada back to Toronto after a man on the plane apparently threatened to blow up the aircraft, authorities said.

Toronto's City News quoted one passenger as saying the suspect became angry after learning that the duty-free items he wanted were not for sale.

Ali Shahi, a 25-year-old man has been charged with allegedly uttering threats and endangering the safety of an aircraft.

Sunwing Airlines says its plane turned around about 45 minutes into the flight morning after an "agitated passenger directly threatened the aircraft."

Sunline Airlines spokeswoman Janine Chapman said: "Anytime someone says they have a bomb, we have to take that seriously, obviously".

Chapman said the plane, carrying 183 passengers and six crew members, landed safely at Toronto's Pearson airport and no one was injured.

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Cellphone video footage from passengers on board that was broadcast on several television networks showed heavily armed SWAT team officers storming aboard the plane to arrest the passenger.

After a delay of several hours, the Sunwing flight took off again for Panama.

Shahi was charged in a Canadian court and is being released on US$1000 (NZ$1169) bail.

AP and Reuters