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Third Canadian Flight in Under a Week Grounded Due to 'Threat'

The "threat" that forced a WestJet flight to make an emergency landing in Winnipeg Monday night was unspecified. The earlier incidents involved bomb threats. No explosives were ever found.
File photo via Flickr Creative Commons

Six people were injured Monday night after a flight from Edmonton to Toronto was forced to make an emergency landing due to an unspecified threat — the third Canadian flight to be grounded in five days due to a threat.

The WestJet Boeing 737-700 carrying 54 passengers and five crew members landed in Winnipeg, instead. Six passengers sustained "non-life threatening injuries during the emergency evacuation" WestJet wrote on its Facebook page, and some were transported to hospital for treatment.

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Authorities have not yet disclosed the type of threat against flight WS422, but police are investigating.

Joel Gupta, a passenger on the plane, told CTV Winnipeg they weren't given any information about the threat that caused the diversion.

"All of a sudden they made an emergency evacuation warning and said, 'Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate,'" he told the television channel. "Everybody rushed to the doors and jumped off the plane; either went down the slide or slid down the wing."

On Saturday, another WestJet flight, this time from Halifax to Edmonton, was forced to land in Saskatoon because someone called in a bomb threat. While in the air, the passengers were told that the reason behind their impromptu stop was an "operating issue."

"The whole atmosphere on the plane was calm. Everybody was pretty good," passenger Rob Tomlinson told CBC News. "I think they maybe just made it sound like an operational issue just for the sake of keeping everybody calm." Once on the ground the plane was evacuated and no explosives were found. Saskatoon police, decked in 80 pound protective suits, personally evacuated cats off the flight.

80lb suit… 32 degree weather… Two happy cats… Priceless. Cst Maloney leaving no one behind… — Saskatoon Police (@SaskatoonPolice)June 27, 2015

On Thursday night, Air Canada Flight 143 from St. John's to Ottawa never got off the ground when a bomb threat was found on a note in the plane's bathroom as it was about to leave the gate. The St. John's International Airport immediately shut down and all other planes were turned away from landing. The airport reopened three hours later after a thorough search.

In each case, no bomb or explosives were found near or on the planes and they were all cleared by authorities.

There is currently no reason to think that these incidents are linked and all three cases are being investigated.

Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter: @macklamoureux