Bomb scare forces EgyptAir flight to make emergency landing

An EgyptAir plane has made an emergency landing in Uzbekistan after receiving a bomb threat in a suspected hoax during its flight from Cairo to Beijing.

In a statement, Uzbekistan Airways said “information was received about a possible explosive device on board” in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Officials told the Associated Press say said an anonymous person called security agents at Cairo airport claiming there was a bomb on the plane.

All 118 passengers and 17 crew members on board were safely evacuated after the Airbus A330 landed at Urgench International Airport, where security services examined the plane.

Searches found no evidence of explosives, an Egyptian official said, adding: “The plane is preparing to resume its journey. It was a hoax, thank God.”

Data from the FlightRadar24 tracking website showed EgyptAir flight 955 left Cairo at 23.20pm local time (10.20pm BST) on Tuesday and travelled across countries including Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan before making its diversion around three hours into the journey.

A spokesperson for EgyptAir said authorities in Cairo made a satellite call to the pilot requesting him to land at the nearest airport “in accordance with international safety and security measures”.

“All necessary procedures are currently underway for the resuming of the flight to Beijing airport from Urgench International Airport,” he added.

The threat came three weeks after EgyptAir’s flight 804 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea between the Greek island of Crete and the Egyptian coast.

All 66 people on board died in the disaster on May 19 and searches for wreckage and the aircraft’s crucial black boxes continue.

The cause of the crash remains unknown. Egypt’s civil aviation minister initially said he believed terrorism was a more likely explanation than equipment failure but so far no hard evidence has emerged and no group has claimed responsibility.