SHANNON, Ireland - A Greek airliner bound for New York made an emergency landing at Shannon Airport in Ireland on Tuesday because of a bomb threat,
the second such incident involving the airline in three days.
The Olympic Airlines plane, carrying 295 passengers and 12 crew from Athens to New York, landed safely at Shannon Airport shortly after 5 p.m.,
Ireland's airport operating company Aer Rianta said. A spokeswoman for Aer Rianta said passengers were being evacuated from the plane and would be
taken to a secure area for questioning.
Emergency personnel, an army bomb disposal team and local hospitals were put on standby. Greek police and Olympic Airways officials said the decision
to divert the plane was taken following an anonymous call to an Athens newspaper saying a bomb was on the plane.
"The newspaper got a call ... saying a bomb was on board and would explode in an hour. Nothing has happened," said airline spokeswoman Melina
"After a meeting it was decided the plane would make an emergency landing at Shannon as it was the nearest airport." In Athens, the Greek Public Order
Ministry said it doesn't consider the threat credible.
"All the baggage on the plane has been thoroughly screened and the security checks at Athens International Airport are exhaustive. The Olympic
Airlines flight was diverted as a precaution. The ministry is investigating the source of the telephone call," the ministry said.
Police said the threat was made in English, but did not say what the caller said. It was the second time in three days a flight by the carrier from
Athens to New York was diverted because of a bomb threat. On Sunday, an Olympic plane also bound for New York landed at Stansted airport, near London,
following a similar threat. Nothing suspicious was found and the plane left for New York on Monday. The British Royal Air Force, which sent two
Tornado jets to escort Sunday's plane to Stansted, said that it was not involved in Monday's incident. Security in Athens was heightened for the
Olympics, which took place Aug. 13-29, and the Paralympics, which end Tuesday.
[Edited on 28/9/04 by TRD]