Passenger jet continues its final leg after a false hijacking alarm

A U.S.-bound passenger jet diverted Friday morning to Halifax because it sent out a false &to=http:// 21/96/383/12342_hijacking. html ' target=_blank> hijacking alarm returned to the air in the afternoon and flew to New York, its original destination.

Canadian fighter jets escorted Virgin Atlantic Airways' Flight 45 to the Nova Scotia airport because of the false alarm. It landed at 10 a.m. and was met by the Royal Canadian agents, said &to=http:// ' target=_blank>U.S. Homeland Security Department spokeswoman Katie Montgomery.

SWAT team members were seen entering the Airbus A340-600 as it sat on the tarmac with its 273 passengers and 16 crew members still on board. The plane had left London Heathrow Airport at 2:59 a.m., the airline said.

The airline issued a statement saying the technical issues involved in the false alarm were resolved and it apologized for any upset or inconvenience to passengers, reports the Sun Times.

According to CNN News, because the flight's scheduled path put it over Canadian airspace, the plane was diverted to Halifax International Airport in Nova Scotia, U.S. transportation officials said. It was considered the closest airport with a runway large enough to handle the Airbus A340-600.

The fighter jet escort is standard procedure when a hijack alert is sounded, said Halifax International Airport spokeswoman Gina Connell. The jets did not land in Halifax. They continued to a nearby air force base, she said.

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