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U.S. fighter jets escort Canadian plane home over passenger threat

F-16 Fighting Falcon
F-16 Fighting Falcon

(Reuters) - Two U.S. F16 fighter jets were scrambled to escort a Panama City-bound flight from Canada back to Toronto on Friday after a man on the plane apparently threatened to blow up the aircraft, authorities said.

Major Julie Roberge of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said the jets flew up to join Sunwing Airlines flight 772 as a "precaution" less than an hour after it took off from Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

Video shot by a passenger showed armed Canadian law enforcement officers shouting "heads down, hands up" as they stormed aboard the aircraft in helmets and tactical gear after it was escorted back to Toronto.

Local media said a 25-year-old Canadian man was arrested on suspicion of threatening the aircraft. Toronto's City News quoted one passenger as saying the suspect became angry after learning that the duty-free items he wanted were not for sale.

(Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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