By Yang Jian | 2012-10-9 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
A CHINA Southern Airlines flight from Istanbul made a forced landing at an airport in northwest China yesterday after receiving a call threatening a terrorist attack.
The Boeing 757 - flight CZ680 from the Turkish port city to Beijing via Urumqi - landed at Lanzhou Zhongchuan Airport in Gansu Province at 5:30pm, two hours after take-off from Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the airport authority said.
Xinjiang police said last night that they had detained a suspect, surnamed Wang, who had confessed to making a hoax call about an attack on the aircraft.
Airport police said the airline had received the message halfway through its flight to Beijing Capital International Airport.
All 186 passengers and 10 crew onboard were evacuated 15 minutes after landing and a thorough inspection of the aircraft and the passengers was carried out.
Armed Police and other officers surrounded the aircraft shortly after it landed and everyone was told to leave the plane with their belongings, said a passenger surnamed Bai. "No one told us what happened in the air and the aircraft suddenly landed. I wouldn't even have known where I was without the GPS on my mobile phone," she said.
China Central Television said officers with sniffer dogs carried out a search of the aircraft and passengers' belongings were piled up waiting to be inspected.
The authorities did not say if the searches had revealed anything out of the ordinary.
The aircraft took off again at 10:45pm, more than five hours after it had landed.
It was the fourth time in two months that a Chinese flight had been disrupted by hoax calls.
On September 9, a passenger on a Beijing Capital Airlines flight claimed there was a bomb onboard.
The threat made the taxiing plane return to the apron for inspection in Sanya City in southern China's Hainan Province.
On August 29, an Air China flight heading to New York returned to Beijing after "receiving a threatening message."
Two days later, a Shenzhen Airlines flight was diverted to an airport in central China's Hubei Province after a threatening call.