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‘Threatening message’ forces emergency landing of Shenzhen Airlines flight

Posted: 08/31/2012 2:29 pm

In the second case in as many days, a Chinese airline has been forced out of the sky after receiving a “threatening message” causing concern and throwing a spotlight on the nation’s ever-expanding industry.

Shenzhen Airlines flight ZH 9706 took off from Xiangyang Airport, in Hubei, last night en-route to Shenzhen, but never arrived. In fact, it never left the province and was diverted to Wuhan.

“At 10:29 p.m. on August 30, 2012, flight ZH 9706 received threatening information after takeoff,” the airline said in a statement posted to Weibo. “To ensure safety, this airline diverted the flight immediately and the plane landed safety at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport at 11:22 p.m. Police have been called in to investigate.”

No one is taking any chances.

In a statement released by the Wuhan airport authority, the threat was made through an anonymous call that forced the emergency landing.

Yesterday’s incident isn’t the first of its kind, or even the first this week. On Wednesday it emerged an Air China flight bound for New York returned to Beijing after receiving a similar message, serious enough for the plane to make a u-turn seven hours into its journey after receiving a tip from US authorities.

The industry is on a heightened sense of alert after a hijacking was thwarted in Xinjiang Autonomous Region in which six ethnic Uyghur men tried to seize control, but were overcome by passengers and crew.

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