Two U.S. fighter jets escorted a Canada-to-Panama flight back to Toronto after a passenger allegedly threatened the plane Friday morning.
Sunwing Airlines Flight 772, which left Toronto Pearson International Airport at 7 a.m. ET, was over West Virginia when "an agitated customer made a direct threat against the aircraft" about 45 minutes into the flight to Panama City, the Canadian carrier said in a statement.
The nature of the threat or why the passenger was agitated were not specified. CBS News reported that the passenger told a flight attendant, "I have a bomb and I will blow up Canada."
The North American Aerospace Defense Command was alerted at 8:20 a.m. ET. Two Ohio Air National Guard fighter jets out of Toledo that were in the air on a training mission were diverted to intercept the plane after it turned around, said NORAD spokesman Preston Schlachter.
The fighters, assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, shadowed the Boeing 737-800 until it landed at the Toronto airport at 9:02 a.m. Peel Regional Police tactical officers then boarded the aircraft and removed the passenger without incident, said Constable Thomas Ruttan.
Police searched the plane and found no explosives or anything suspicious, he added.
Ali Shahi, a 25-year-old Canadian citizen from Mississauga, Ontario, was arrested on charges that include uttering threats, mischief to property and endangering the safety of an aircraft. He was being held Friday pending a bail hearing Saturday in Brampton, Ontario.
Ruttan said Canadian law prevented him from releasing further information because the case is under investigation.
The Sunwing flight took off again for Panama City at 3:35 p.m. and was due to land at 7:55 p.m.
An airline official was not available for further comment.